NTT slashes top execs’ pay as punishment for paying more than their share of $500-a-head meals with government officials

None were illegal, but they did put civil servants in awkward ethical territory and execs knew it

Japanese tech and telecoms giant NTT has temporarily slashed the pay of several top executives, to reprimand them for paying too much of the bill at $500-a-head lunches with government officials.

NTT is part-owned by Japan’s government and is also the nation’s dominant telco. Meetings with officials from the Ministry of Communications are therefore to be expected.

Local ethics rules don’t prohibit government officials dining with those they regulate. But NTT made the mistake of taking officials to very expensive restaurants — Japanese media report the bill reached the equivalent of over $500 per person on some occasions — and then paying most of the bill.

The naughty noshing occurred on 29 occasions between 2016 and 2021. The most recent meals came after recently appointed Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga signalled his intention to shake up regulations that make it very hard to port mobile numbers between carriers in Japan. News that NTT had been generous to public officials therefore aroused suspicions that the carrier may have been attempting to curry favour over some delicious Japanese curry*.

Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications was widely criticised when news of the lavish meals became known.

NTT opened an internal inquiry into the matter, and its subsequent report was published this week. It found that, while the meals were not illegal, they induced public servants to breach their code of ethics and NTT execs should have known better than to do so.

Sanctions were therefore in order. NTT President Jun Sawada has had his pay cut by forty per cent for three months, while Senior Executive Vice President Akira Shimada and Senior Vice President Ryota Kitamura will both find their pay packets 20 per cent lighter for three months.

Toshio Iwamoto, an advisor at NTT’s IT services arm NTT Data Corporation, has been handed a thirty per cent pay cut for three months.

A dozen other employees from several NTT businesses were given a severe reprimand.

Investigations have subsequently found that no decisions made by Ministry officials were compromised by NTT’s generosity. ®

* The Register has no knowledge of the menu at the meals but couldn’t resist some linguistic whimsy — Ed.

Similar topics

Narrower topics

Other stories you might like

  • Japan lets its banks and other entities issue stablecoins
    Wants private coins to have face value in Yen by 2023

    Japan's parliament has passed legislation allowing Yen-linked stablecoin cryptocurrencies, thus becoming one of the first countries – and by far the largest economy – to regulate a form of non-fiat digital money.

    The regulations stipulate that only banks and other registered financial institutions – like money transfer agents and trust companies – can issue the alterna-cash. Intermediaries, or those who are responsible for the circulation of the currencies, will be required to adopt stricter anti-money-laundering measures. The rules also define stablecoins as digital money and guarantee face value redemption.

    Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA) floated this regime in a March 2021 proposal. Parliamentary assent for the proposal means it will come into effect in 2023. The regulations will apply to domestic financial institutions as well as foreign operations that target Japanese users. The research material supporting the decision relied heavily on trends in the US and Europe.

    Continue reading
  • Japan's asteroid probe reportedly found 20 amino acids
    They're the stuff of life, so the fact they're floating around out there is very exciting

    Dust that Japan's Hayabusa2 probe returned to Earth from asteroid Ryugu reportedly contain 20 amino acids, according to Japanese media.

    Which is very exciting indeed, because amino acids are the stuff of life. They help to build proteins, act as neurotransmitters in the brain, and are utterly ubiquitous and essential in terrestrial life. Just last month, esteemed journal Nature published research suggesting that amino acids had a crucial role in the evolution of the first self-replicating molecules.

    Outlets such as Nikkei report that a Science ministry spokesperson mentioned the presence of amino acids yesterday, with a hint of peer-reviewed work to come but no other detail.

    Continue reading
  • Mitsubishi Electric again admits to widespread quality control cheating
    Nifty slogan and more software suggested as the rectification

    Mitsubishi Electric has admitted to widespread cheating on its internal quality control efforts.

    The Japanese giant makes datacenter-scale power supply products, uninterruptible power supplies, high-end optical networking kit, plus plenty of electronics and semiconductor products – so this scandal is of concern to Reg readers. Buyers of other Mitsubishi Electric products, covering building operations, railways, and space systems, also have reason for concern.

    One more thing: the company's motto is "Changes for the better." We can't make this stuff up.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022