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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

'IT MEANS RISKS'

The CEO on a shifting future


more stories
Big Bang Orix is moving fast to take advantage of Japan's increasingly open markets

Q & A Orix CEO Miyauchi on taking risks

NYSE Listing in New York - the latest corporate fad

ORIX OPENED ITS NEW mid-rise headquarters building earlier this year - just about the time the headquarters of other Japanese companies were being put up for sale. It's another example of how the company, under the direction of President and CEO Miyauchi Yoshihiko, likes to go against the grain. Orix is a rare publicly traded financial services company in Japan: concerned about shareholder value, intent on improving corporate governance, hoping for more liberalization than is planned under Japan's ongoing Big Bang. Miyauchi recently sat down with Asiaweek's Murakami Mutsuko to talk about the changing environment:

How is Japan's Big Bang deregulation progressing?

It is still only small reforms. Orix would have grown bigger and better if the deregulation had been carried out earlier and faster. We have come to where we are now only by our own efforts. Regulations are only beginning to disappear.

This is a real challenge for management, isn't it?

It means greater risks and greater responsibilities for top decision-makers. Their managerial capabilities will be ever more critical. If you lose in the market economy, it just means you are a poor manager.

Why is Orix so different from other Japanese financial services companies?

Japanese banks and other financial institutions have developed their businesses in cooperative tie-ups with the government. The system made Japan an economic power, but it has led also to the current situation. Fortunately or not, [Orix] has remained outside the system. You don't get recognized or get to survive unless you think on your own, act on your own and create new products of your own. That has been our distinct corporate culture.

What would you say to critics of the market economy who blame it as a source of the Asian Crisis?

The market economy is the best system for economic activity. Many people blame the market economy unfairly for what happens just because the market is not in perfect shape. But [many] problems would not have arisen if [businesses] had increased transparency and thus improved the market economy.

How important are the changes sweeping Japan?

Corporations won't survive unless they change, and many companies are committed to restructuring. Foreign companies no longer [face] barriers to enter the market, which is often misreported in overseas media. Many foreign companies are enjoying great profits in Japan. It may be difficult to enter the market for newcomers, foreign or domestic, because corporate clients value longstanding relations. Employment practices are drastically changing. No top manager believes in traditional lifetime employment today. Foreign perception about Japan is often wrong and misleading.


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