Zen and the art of airline maintenance

JAPAN’S prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, has appointed Zen monk and business guru, Kazuo Inamori as the head of troubled Japan Airlines (JAL).Inamori is well known as one of the country’s most respected entrepreneurs, having founded two blue chip companies – as well as an ordained Zen monk and his books on business management are avidly read throughout Japanese boardrooms. With so much at stake as JAL edges closer to bankruptcy, the Japanese government is obviously hoping that Inamori’s wisdom will guide JAL to operational and financial enlightenment.JAL’s current chief executive officer, Haruka Nishimatsu, is expected to leave as soon as next week. He will leave JAL at a time when it is expecting to ask the courts for legal protection from its debtors, who are rightly concerned over their US$15.34 billion of loans.“The revival of Japan Airlines is deeply connected to the revival [of] the Japanese economy,” said Hatoyama.“I’m a complete amateur in the transport industry but I would like to do my best in offering my cooperation,” said Inamori. “If we steadily implement the rehabilitation plan that is being compiled by ETIC, I believe revival is possible.”Inamori’s books teach the importance of ensuring that each division within a company must make a profit.

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