Nov. 27 - Olympus whistleblower, ex-president Michael Woodford, describes the fear and nightmares after blowing the lid on one of Japan's worst corporate scandals, in his new book ''Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal which hits book stores on Thursday. Hayley Platt reports.
It's got all the elements of a good crime novel but this is no work of fiction. 'Exposure: Inside the Olympus Scandal' is the story of Michael Woodford's life after he was sacked last year from one of Japan's biggest companies. He'd been in the top job at Olympus for just two weeks before blowing the whistle on a suspected 1.4 billion dollar fraud by previous bosses. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MICHAEL WOODFORD, FORMER PRESIDENT OF OLYMPUS AND AUTHOR OF "EXPOSED", SAYING: "I went though a lot of pain and more so did my wife and my children and I don't want that to just be futile or in vain. The way Japan works or doesn't work, corporate Japan, I'd like the world to know." British born Woodford spent 30 years at Olympus, rising through the ranks to become its first foreign CEO. His decision to expose the crime also exposed him and his family to unforseen dangers. There was even talk of links to the 'yakuza' or Japanese mafia which required police protection. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MICHAEL WOODFORD, FORMER PRESIDENT OF OLYMPUS AND AUTHOR OF "EXPOSED", SAYING: "They were looking to see how secure they could make this apartment and when they got to the front door they said 'You can't have a letterbox like this, people can put combustible material through it'. And that was the start of my wife going down a spiral of panic and anxiety which became more acute as the days passed and every night, after 45 minutes of being in bed she would wake up screaming." Olympus eventually admitted to fraud dating back two decades. Its shares crashed, losing more than 80 percent of their value, and the board resigned. Three former executives, including ex chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, are currently on trial for their part in the scandal. It was Japan's worst - but Woodford says the country still has fundamental problems it needs to address. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MICHAEL WOODFORD, FORMER PRESIDENT OF OLYMPUS AND AUTHOR OF "EXPOSED", SAYING: "Lovely country, lovely people but something terribly wrong and dysfunctional about corporate Japan. They are going backwards and they are not moving quickly enough in closing loss-making businesses, nothing's allowed to fail in Japan. They are not innovating, they treat half their workforce, women, in a way which is to me extremely chauvinistic." Woodford eventually sued Olympus for unfair dismissal, winning an out-of-court settlement of 16 million dollars. He has no desire to return to the boardroom - and is looking forward to watching his story on screen. He's close to signing a movie deal - possibly with the sons of spy thriller author John le Carre.