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Kobe Steel Chairman, President and CEO Hiroya Kawasaki answers questions about the company's data falsification scandal at an Oct. 26 press conference.

Kobe Steel trapped in endless chain of scandals

Diversification strategy and complacency have distracted from efforts to change

TOMOYA ONISHI, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

TOKYO -- Hiroya Kawasaki, chairman, president and CEO of Kobe Steel, has many frog ornaments in his offices in Tokyo and Kobe. Kaeru, Japanese for "frog," has the same pronunciation as the word for "change."   

The frogs have been there since he became president in 2013, to remind him of his desire to change the company. "Nobody in the company can order the president to do things. Every day, the frogs tell me that I have to change the company, to not be content with the status quo," Kawasaki wrote in a column in The Nikkei this February.  

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