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Toshiba's Westinghouse mess points to deep cultural problems

Lingering former execs and an excess of deference led to shady accounting

TOKYO In January, as talk of a financial crisis at Toshiba reached a fever pitch, the Toshiba booth at the CES, a consumer electronics show in Las Vegas, Nevada, did little to inspire confidence. There was its familiar "TOSHIBA" logo in big red letters, but displayed beneath was not some gee-whiz gadget, but old-fashioned radio cassette recorder-type products and other mundane-looking home appliances.

Toshiba, a Japanese company once synonymous with home electronics, has largely pulled out of the business. It has sold the rights to market and distribute most of the white goods sold under the Toshiba brand to China's Midea Group. The fact that Toshiba was forced to sell its internationally known brand to shore up its books highlights the company's disarray.

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