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Scandal-plagued Toshiba Sells Medical Unit to Canon

Tokyo-based Toshiba has been struggling with a major scandal over disclosures that company officials doctored accounting books for years after setting unrealistic earnings targets
By The News · 17 of March 2016 08:28:00
Japan Toshiba, FILE - In this July 20, 2015 file photo, shoppers watch air conditioners displayed at an electronics store in Tokyo. Scandal-plagued Japanese manufacturer Toshiba Corp. is cutting 6,800 jobs after projecting a net loss of 550 billion yen ($4.5 billion) for the fiscal year through March 2016. Toshiba said Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, it will slash the jobs in its personal computer, video product and consumer electronic businesses. The job cuts equal about 3 percent of Toshiba's overall employees. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, File), No available

TOKYO — Scandal-plagued Japanese electronics maker Toshiba Corp. sold its medical unit to Japanese camera maker Canon Inc. for 665.5 billion yen ($5.9 billion) on Thursday, both sides said.

A man walks past a Canon Inc. sign at the company's headquarters in Tokyo, in this January 14, 2009 file photo. Photo: Reuters/Stringer/File

A man walks past a Canon Inc. sign at the company’s headquarters in Tokyo, in this January 14, 2009 file photo. Photo: Reuters/Stringer/File

Separately, Toshiba said it reached an agreement with Chinese home appliance manufacturer Midea Group on selling its refrigerator and other so-called “white goods” business, targeting the end of March. Pricing and stakes have not been decided, company spokeswoman Midori Hara said.

Canon said in a statement that its acquisition of Toshiba Medical Systems Corp. as a 100 percent-owned subsidiary would aid its ambition to expand its medical equipment business. Toshiba Medical’s strengths are in X-ray and ultrasound systems.

Tokyo-based Toshiba has been struggling with a major scandal over disclosures that company officials doctored accounting books for years after setting unrealistic earnings targets.

The company also is facing major problems in its nuclear business after the March 2011 accident at a plant in Fukushima, northeastern Japan, which sent three reactors into meltdowns.

Because of a public outcry amid doubts about the technology’s safety, all but two power reactors in Japan remain shut down. Toshiba’s electronics devices operations have also taken a hit because of intensifying competition and dropping sales.

Toshiba Corp. demonstrates its communications android named Ms. Aiko Chihira that can use sign language and introduce itself, at the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC) JAPAN 2014 in Chiba, east of Tokyo, in this October 7, 2014 file photo. Photo: Reuters/Issei Kato/File

Toshiba Corp. demonstrates its communications android named Ms. Aiko Chihira that can use sign language and introduce itself, at the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC) JAPAN 2014 in Chiba, east of Tokyo, in this October 7, 2014 file photo. Photo: Reuters/Issei Kato/File

For the fiscal year through March, the company is forecasting a 710 billion yen ($6.3 billion) loss, even bigger than its initial projection. It will be the company’s second year of red ink.

Toshiba’s chief executive resigned last year to take responsibility for the scandal. But efforts to reform corporate governance have turned up even more accounting wrongdoing.

Japanese corporate culture, with its emphasis on consensus, has often been blamed for systematic cover-ups at Japan’s most prestigious companies, including Olympus Corp. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

Unlike some Western accounting scandals, such scandals in Japan did not result in enrichment of individual employees. Instead, workers collaborated to “save face” for the company.

YURI KAGEYAMA