If you have a listen to the MP3 on the website, you find out that it’s well understood Mr. Jetter was sent to Tokyo, from New York, to work the same magic he had done for IBM in IBM’s German unit. (Before then, he had been based in New York as an executive secretary to former CEO Lou Gerstner.)
In discovery that I had received in prior months, none of this was pointed out. Only Mr. Jetter’s status as a member of the German IBM was responded about.
The JMIU, a Japanese labor union within IBM, however, has been very much on top of what changes are afoot. I also learned online that the three IBM employees who brought suit in Tokyo District Court are members of JMIU. (JP)
[Update: Where the news article references “autonomy”, it’s directly in contrast to the tape, where there is described the fact that headquarters has been imposing budgets on the IBM Japan unit that have been forcing it to cut corners on sales development.
Additionally, I happen to know through Gordon Williamson’s book that IBM Japan has never been “autonomous”, and the Japanese government preferred to deal with executives out of New York instead of Shiina Takeo, a Japan unit head from the 1980s.]
[Update 12/2/12: Another salient quote, around 04:50: IBM Japan was “not in a position to persuade the parent company to appoint a Japanese president” because of the lack of caliber of the local leadership pool.]