When Kazuo Inamori was appointed to lead the restructuring of Japan Airlines (JAL) two years ago, analysts worried about his lack of experience in aviation. Never mind that he was about to turn 78, had founded two of Japan’s best-known companies – Kyocera, in electronics components, and KDDI, in telecoms – and was, for good measure, an ordained Buddhist priest. Studying Buddhist teachings, he told the Wall Street Journal four months into his new role, “improves the quality of my heart and mind and enriches myself as a human being. This enhanced spirit is useful when it comes to revitalising JAL”.
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