Skin in the Game

The so called Renault-Nissan ‘crisis’ has been fascinating to watch, not the actual event but how it is reported in the western press. It’s like time warping back to culturally biased 1980s style ‘Japan Inc. doesn’t play by the rules, has vested interests (what country doesn’t?), etc.’ reportage. When things get hot western journalists trot out the old stereotypes and prejudices with titles like “Carlos Ghosn: A criminal or just a foreigner?”, because it still sells. French cartoonists and FCCJ based journalists who should know better take the easy path and pander to the gutter, cringe worthy nasty stuff, instead of doing actual research and reporting such as Ghosn illegally funneling Nissan profits to Renault-Samsung to cover loses and show profit instead.

Only now is Reuters picking up the French connection side of the story which has been reported in Japanese media since day one and is a well-known narrative: Seeds of Renault-Nissan crisis sown in Macron’s ‘raid’When Ghosn came to Japan to fix Nissan he promised that Nissan stay separate and would never be merged with Renault. Macron the “former Rothschild dealmaker” broke that promise:

Then, on the evening of April 7, (2015) Macron called Ghosn to let him know – as a courtesy – that the state had bought another 4.73 percent of Renault for 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion), would announce its maneuver in the morning and planned to sell back down to 15 percent only after defeating his (Ghosn’s) opt-out.

and

With that step, seen by detractors and admirers alike as an unprecedented government “raid”, the simmering battle of egos between Ghosn the global CEO and Macron the wunderkind banker-turned-minister had burst into the open.

Brushing aside warnings, Macron pressed ahead and defeated the opt-out. The vote handed France an effective blocking minority at Renault, which in turn controlled Nissan shareholder meetings via its 43.4 percent stake in the Japanese firm.

Alarm bells rang in Tokyo as that sank in, ratcheting tensions higher over the months that followed.

Macron’s actions to push a Nissan-Renault merger broke all the trust Ghosn had built over the years with Nissan. Ghosn is certainly a victim as the western press likes to portray him but not at the hands of “the Japanese”, but by Macron himself. As the Reuters story makes clear, “President Macron himself has skin in the game,” Ghosn was just a disposable tool and stepping stone to the Élysée Palace.

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