Corporate Governance Disaster Economics electronics component makers Japan's electronics multinationals Japan's energy sector Leadership

Kazuo Inamori, founder of Kyocera and DDI (KDDI), rebuilds Japan Airlines using Amoeba Management (アメーバ経営)

Kazuo Inamori (稲盛 和夫) one of Japan’s legendary serial entrepreneurs

Japan Airlines (日本航空株式会社) turnaround from bankruptcy

Bad news from Japan’s electronics industry sector makes global headlines this week (I was interviewed on BBC, US National Public Radio etc) – in this newsletter, lets look at some good news from Japan.

Kazuo Inamori (80 years old, born January 30, 1932), Japanese serial entrepreneur, founded Kyocera Corporation on April 1, 1959, founded DDI (now KDDI) in 1984, and turned around Japan Airlines (JAL) during the last two years.

Japan Airlines (JAL) went bankrupt on January 19, 2010, Kazuo Inamori turned around JAL, and JAL went public again on Tokyo Stock Exchange on September 19, 2012, returning substantial profit for the Enterprise Turnaround Initiative Corporation of Japan Fund.

Serial entrepreneur Kazuo Inamori
Serial entrepreneur Kazuo Inamori

Kazuo Inamori used his “Amoba Management” (アメーバ経営) techniques to rebuild Japan Airlines from bankruptcy

Kazuo Inamori is famous for “Amoeba Management (アメーバ経営)”, essentially Amoeba management means divisional accounting, and has been refined for the management of Kyocera and many other companies.

Today Kyocera is divided into about 3000 “amoebas” – applying the amoeba management methods to Japan Airlines

Applying “Amoeba management” to JAL, Kazuo Inamori installed a real time system, to determine the profit of each route and each single flight in real time, while in the past profits (or losses) at Japan Airlines, were calculated months after the fact.

Kazuo Inamori on leadership: “the leader must have a vision and burning determination to carry out the vision whatever the obstacles”, and must communicate aims and targets to everyone in the company.

On nuclear energy:

Japan’s energy / electricity sector is in upheaval, and given Japan’s respect for seniority, given Kazuo Inamori’s standing in Japan, understanding Kazuo Inamori’s opinion is very important for understanding how Japan’s energy landscape is likely to evolve in the future.

“In the past the problems of nuclear energy were hidden from the public, and in the future must be disclosed”.

“It is not possible to maintain the current sophisticated society without nuclear power”. He thinks that nuclear power is a necessary evil.

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