TOKYO - The new president of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. says he is ready to rebuild the company to address its financial and ethical problems.
Katsuhiko Kawasoe was appointed to clean up the company after a gangster bribery scandal.
He knows something about scandal.
From April 1987 to July 1993, he was the second-ranking Japanese executive at Mitsubishi's US plant, Diamond-Star Motors. According to lawsuits filed by 26 women employees and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment and abuse was common then.
After those allegations came to light, Mitsubishi had to deal with massive negative publicity.
A similar public relations scandal this year drove the chairman and president to resign.
Sokaiya racketeers extorted money from Mitsubishi on the threat of disrupting shareholder meetings. Four executives were arrested for paying sokaiya, and Chairman Hirokazu Nakamura and President Takemune Kimura resigned.
Kawasoe had no previous dealings with the racketeers.
Employees must 'restructure the company organization so as to ensure that such a situation never occurs again,' said Kawasoe, 61.
Mitsubishi sales in Japan are foundering, and the company faces massive losses in its Southeast Asian operations. It has also injected cash into its troubled US operations three times in the past two years.
Kawasoe said company targets for improving profitability, developing popular cars and strengthening business require further efforts.
'To date these objectives have been promoted under the corporate G-plan, which takes the year 2000 as its target date,' he said. 'But we must remember that reality changes by the minute.
'I intend to stride resolutely forward, facing up to reality and taking whatever action the situation calls for.'
Kawasoe plans to scrap some elements of the corporate plan laid out by his predecessors, but he did not divulge details in his address at the launch of the new RVR series of sport-utilities in Japan.