Page last updated at 14:56 GMT, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 15:56 UK

Former Fujitsu president sues over sacking

Fujitsu logo
Fujitsu admitted sacking its president last month

The former president of Fujitsu has launched legal action against the firm over his forced resignation last year.

Fujitsu dismissed Kuniaki Nozoe in September due to his alleged ties to a company with "an unfavourable reputation".

Mr Nozoe will sue for damages over losses suffered by the company.

At a press conference this morning, he asked Fujitsu to launch a third-party investigation into the circumstances in which he left Fujitsu.

Fujitsu said it would consider the request to sue two of its executives, and make a decision within 60 days.

Mr Nozoe's lawyers argue that the episode cost Fujitsu 5bn yen (£34.9m, $53.1m) due to the delay caused to its sale of its internet services subsidiary, Nifty Corporation.

Organised crime claims

Fujitsu first announced the resignation of Mr Nozoe in September last year, citing ill health.

The suggestion that a major Japanese company has been linked with the yakuza is not surprising
Dr Seijiro Takeshita, director at Mizuho International

But last month it admitted that the president had been forced out following an investigation into his business links.

Mr Nozoe was found to have an "inappropriate" relationship with a third party company "said to have an unfavourable reputation" - a phrase used in Japanese to infer that the company has links to organised crime.

Fujitsu said that Mr Nozoe was sacked after the president failed to end the relationship after promising to do so.

Mr Nozoe denies the claims, seeing "the relationship with the acquaintance as personal".

The episode has raised questions over the role of organised crime syndicates - known as the yakuza - in big Japanese business.

"The suggestion that a major Japanese company has been linked with the yakuza is not surprising," said Dr Seijiro Takeshita, a director at the Japanese bank Mizuho International.

"Associating with gangsters has often been a part of doing business in Japan - including even the banks."

Shares in Fujitsu, Japan's biggest IT services provider, were down by more than 0.5% at the end of trading on Wednesday.

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