Photo/IllutrationHiroto Saikawa, Nissan Motor Co. president and CEO, leaves the news conference room held at company headquarters on Sept. 9. (Hiroyuki Yamamoto)

Ikeno Medaka, a comedian with the Yoshimoto Shin Kigeki comedy troupe, never fails to crack up the audience with his lines that are so out of kilter with the situation at hand, the effect is just too funny.

For instance, after getting thoroughly beaten up in a fight, he would suddenly put on airs and command his tormentors: "That's enough for today. You may go now."

Remarks by Hiroto Saikawa, Nissan Motor Co. president and CEO, have also left me feeling floored, so to speak.

Immediately after the arrest of then-Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn last year, Saiwaka declared, "Too much power was concentrated in just one person," and added, "I must say, this is the dark side of Ghosn's long reign."

But wait a minute, Mr. Saikawa, weren't you the very man who had the chairman's support and was made president?

When some investors sought Saikawa's resignation during an annual shareholders' meeting, Saikawa dismissed that possibility out of hand, insisting he had to first "pave the way" for the next generation of Nissan leadership.

The gap between Saikawa's self-proclaimed mission and the reality has remained unfilled, but a new development has just surfaced.

It has come to light that he has been receiving dubious remuneration revolving around a stock-linked bonus known as stock appreciation rights (SAR).

According to an in-house investigation, Saikawa pocketed about 47 million yen ($438,000) more than he would have obtained when the date of exercising the SAR was changed by one week.

Talk about a self-serving plan to inflate his own income. Or, perhaps I should call it a "group plan," as nine Nissan executives, including Saikawa and Ghosn, were in on it. These individuals were essentially treating this mammoth corporation as their personal income-boosting tool.

Finally agreeing to resign, Saikawa apologized at a news conference on Sept. 9 for stepping down before all of Nissan's problems were resolved.

It has obviously never occurred to him that he himself could have been one of those problems.

Well I never ...

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 11

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.