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Nintendo executive salaries are good, but not as good as you think

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Thanks to a new rule from Japan’s Financial Services Agency requiring executives at public companies to divulge the particulars of their salaries (if those salaries are greater than ¥100 million, or $1.1 million, per year) we now know, more or less, how much money executives at Nintendo (and other game developers) earn annually.

And before you ask: Yes, it’s been an incredibly slow news day.

The new rule introduced by Japan’s agency has naturally taken a lot of flak from the business sector in the country, as there is the belief that said executives should be able to protect their personal information, and revealing salaries (exorbitant or otherwise) will “invite criticism from the public and a sense of (income) disparity,” according to president of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Atsushi Saito.

Ex-state minister Shizuka Kamei, however, has a pretty good rebuttal to complaints, saying that “Companies owe their existence to society. People who are paid a lot should be proud of themselves and the job they do.”

Basically, if you’re earning a large sum of money for the work you do, you should feel ready to defend that sum, rather than be ashamed of your riches and unable to justify your earnings.

Not too many executives in Japan are expected to be subject to disclosure, however, as the average salary at listed companies is roughly ¥25 million ($280 000), but with the enforcement of this new rule, the salaries of top-name videogame industry executives has come to light.

Satoru IwataNintendo president Satoru Iwata’s base salary, according to an official report, is ¥68 million ($764 000) per year, while performance based bonuses took his earnings last year to ¥187 million ($2.1 million).

In addition, a group of six Nintendo board members, including star designer Shigeru Miyamoto, were paid ¥100 million ($1.1 milllion) overall. If this figure is divided evenly between the six members, each person would have received ¥16.6 million ($187 000). It’s doubtful that the figure would be split exactly evenly between the six executives, but it’s a best guess scenario.

For comparison, here are a few salaries other Japanese executives from major corporations earn annually (game publishers and car manufacturer’s alike):

  • Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn: ¥890 million ($10 million)
  • Sony CEO Howard Stringer: ¥816.5 million ($9.2 million)
  • Sega Sammy Holdings CEO Osamu Satomi: ¥435 million ($4.9 million)
  • Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada: ¥240 million ($2.7 million)
  • Sony CFO Nobuyuki Oneda: ¥164.39 million ($1.8 million)
  • Namco Bandai Holdings President Kazunori Ueno: ¥137 million ($1.5 million)
  • Honda CEO Takanobu Ito: ¥115 million ($1.3 million )

Source: Victoria Advocate and Andriasang


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