2010: Inamori Leads JAL's Restructuring
Using the Kyocera Philosophy to Rebuild JAL
In January 2010, Japan Airlines (JAL) filed for bankruptcy protection under the Corporate Rehabilitation Law with the largest debt of any company since the end of WWII: 2.3 trillion yen ($25 billion).
At the urging of the Japanese government, Inamori accepted the position of chairman in order to spearhead JAL's restructuring.
There were three reasons Inamori undertook this crucial task despite the strong opposition of those around him.
First, he wanted to prevent an economic disaster in Japan if JAL suffered a secondary bankruptcy; second, he wanted to protect the jobs of the remaining JAL employees; and third, he wanted to benefit the public by maintaining fair competition in the marketplace.
At the time of the bankruptcy, JAL employees lacked a sense of crisis and ownership; there seemed to be no unity among them. Restructuring, it was reported, was impossible. Under such circumstances, all that Inamori brought with him to JAL was the management philosophy he had implemented at Kyocera and his managerial accounting system, Amoeba Management.
By creating the JAL Philosophy, which was based on the Kyocera Philosophy, common values were established and the mentality of employees began to change.
In introducing the Amoeba Management System, JAL employees began to develop a sense of management and think about how they could proactively increase revenue and reduce expenses in their departments.
As a result, although JAL had previously suffered continuous deficits, it was transformed into the world's most profitable airline company: the following fiscal year it posted an operating profit of 188.4 billion yen ($2.35 billion).
In September 2012, JAL was able to relist on the Tokyo Stock Exchange after a relatively short period of two years and eight months since declaring bankruptcy.
JAL's miraculous recovery proves once more that the Kyocera Philosophy — the foundation of Kyocera's management — indeed provides great power when managing business.