The president of Ricoh Japan, Kazuhiro Kimura, has resigned after an internal investigation found that he violated company’s code of conduct by pressuring a woman to have an abortion.
Reported by Asahi, Kimura resigned on November 14 after the company recommended that he step down from his position as president.
Kimura had been with Ricoh since 1988 and became president of Ricoh Japan in April 2022. He also served on the company’s board as an executive officer, a position Kimura has also relinquished as a result of the scandal.
During Ricoh’s internal investigation into the matter where company officials interviewed Kimura, the former executive admitted that he had asked a woman he was in a relationship with to have an abortion.
It should be noted that abortion is legal in Japan as long as it complies with the country’s Maternal Protection Law which states that one can only take place within 21 weeks and six days after the start of the last menstrual period. The issue in this case, outside of the general negative stigma surrounding abortion culturally, is specifically the fact that Kimura was pressuring a woman to have one.
“Demanding that someone renounce their rights to have children is a human rights violation,” Motokazu Endo, a lawyer who specializes in corporate compliance, tells Asahi. “If true, it is a serious issue.”
Of note, the position of president for Ricoh Japan is not the same as the company’s overall president and CEO position which is held by Noboru Akahane. Kimura led the wholly owned subsidiary of the parent company which focused its efforts strictly on sales inside of Japan.
Ricoh Japan has annual sales of about 600 billion yen (about $4 billion) and employs 18,000 people. The company sells a wide range of products from copy machines and printers to projectors and scanners. It also offers communication, IT infrastructure, and managed documents services. Ricoh Japan also oversees the Japanese distribution of the Pentax brand of digital cameras (including a set of infrared DSLRs like the 645Z IR and the KP IR) as well as the Ricoh-branded 360-degree cameras and fixed-lens systems like the G900 and GR III.
At the time of publication, Ricoh had not stated who will succeed Kimura in the interim while the company determines how to fill the position in the long term.
Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.