Fish Yamaha Out Campaigners Stick by Yamaha Music Criticism

UPDATE NO. 2, OCT. 10, 1:45 P.M.: Lauren Karpinski, speaking for Mighty Earth, sent the following response to the Yamaha response to the Weekly’s original story.

It is interesting that Peter tried to deny any connection between Yamaha Corporation and Yamaha Motors because their ties are not hard to find. In fact, you need look no further than the logo of BOTH companies—three tuning forks–to see how intertwined the two companies are.

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. was established in 1955 upon separation from Yamaha Corporation. HOWEVER, Yamaha Corporation has continued to be one of the—if not the largest–owner of shares in Yamaha Motors. It’s crystal clear on Yamaha Motors’ website; Click here to see how they are slightly edged out by The Master Trust Bank of Japan by .1% point this year.

Fans of Yamaha’s music business are not happy to learn that a company they are so connected to and financially invested in, Yamaha Motors, is driving overfishing and that is exactly why we are going to the President of Yamaha Corp in Japan, Takuya Nakata, not the President of the motor business in Japan.

In the U.S., American consumers are very concerned and going to their local companies to demand action from these intertwined companies.

– Lauren Karpinski

UPDATE NO. 1, OCT. 10, 11:57 A.M.: The Weekly received the letter below from Yamaha Corporation of America’s spokesman. (Some points of clarification from me follow the letter.)

Hi Matt,

As head of public relations for Buena Park-based Yamaha Corporation of America, I was shocked to see the piece you wrote yesterday about Mighty Earth for the OC Weekly. I would have hoped that you would have checked your facts with us before publishing, because the story is unfortunately chock full of errors, some quite serious.

For starters, as it relates to the U.S., you have the wrong company. Yamaha Corporation of America, based in Buena Park, Calif., is a totally different company than Yamaha Motor Corporation, which is based in North Cobb, Georgia (the marine division is located in Kennesaw, Georgia, as you can see in this article):

https://www.mdjonline.com/news/new-yamaha-office-brings-workers/article_160b0726-c647-11e8-99b5-533900fed5ff.html

Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA)—for that matter, Yamaha Corporation in Japan—does not, has not and will not sell boat motors. YCA is the market leader in the distribution of fine musical instruments and consumer and professional audio products. The company is a good corporate citizen that endeavors to protect the environment through sustainable development of musical instruments and audio products through procurement practices that are socially responsible throughout the entire value chain. Yamaha is a signatory and supports the UN Global Compact—a series of 10 principles that encompass human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption.

As for Japan, Yamaha Motor Corporation and Yamaha Corporation came from common roots, but they are two distinctly different companies in very different industries and markets. Even in Japan, there is NO ownership between the two companies, and they are two totally different companies.

The president of Yamaha Motor Corporation in Japan, which is based in Iwata, is Yoshihiro Hidaka, not Takuya Nakata, who is president of Yamaha Corporation Japan, based in Hamamatsu, Japan, whom you have mistakenly cited in your piece.

In light of all these facts, I’m surprised that you would use an image of our piano filled with fish, since the musical instrument subsidiary has absolutely nothing to do with Yamaha Marine.

I respectfully request that you take down this highly inaccurate story until which point that it has accurate information.

Peter Giles
President, Giles Communications
Katonah, NY 10536

Mr. Giles followed that up with this:

Here are some additional facts to consider:

Yamaha Motor Corporation operates Yamaha Motor Corp. USA. Yamaha Marine is a unit of Yamaha Motor USA, and is leading the industry in conservation:

• Last month, Yamaha Marine joined forces with other conservationists — including the Environmental Defense Fund — to defeat an Exempted Fishing Permit that would have allowed pelagic longline vessels into the East Florida Coast Pelagic Longline Closed Area, thus saving countless billfish from death

• Yamaha Marine has joined organizations such as Wild Oceans to support California’s SB1017, legislation that phases out the use of large-mesh drift gillnets and brings California commercial swordfish fishing in-line with all other U.S. and international swordfish fisheries

• Yamaha Marine led and funded an effort to distribute descending devices to recreational anglers in Florida and Georgia to reduce fish mortality in the South Atlantic Red Snapper Fishery and to improve data on mortality

• Yamaha Marine has produced materials designed to teach anglers to use descending devices and tackle that reduces mortality in the red drum fishery

Yamaha Marine is the only outboard company that has a code of ethics for recreational anglers.

Yamaha’s existing facility in Kennesaw, Georgia, is the principal location for Yamaha’s Marine Group, which includes all water-use products, including the Yamaha Marine Systems Company and an extensive new Marine service school. Kennesaw also is the center for most of the Yamaha Commercial Sales and Solutions Group, which encompasses Yamaha Golf-Car Company, Outdoor Power Equipment, and Multi-Purpose Engines.

Yamaha’s Cypress, California, location is the main HQ for Yamaha Motor Corporation in the United States. It continues to be comprised of its senior executive offices, numerous corporate administrative functions, motorcycle racing and testing, and the western parts warehouse.

Now for my points of clarification, re:

“[Y]ou have the wrong company”: Neither I nor the Weekly organized the Fish Yamaha Out protest. I did preview the demonstration based on a Mighty Earth press release that cited the company and protest location. If you go to the Mighty Earth website and click on the Issues tab, you will see that the group has been quite busy with this campaign for some time.

“[Y]ou have mistakenly cited” Takuya Nakata as president of Yamaha Corporation Japan: This is fair to pin on me. While that was the name in the Mighty Earth press release, I should have fact checked that before making the story live.

“[S]urprised that you would use an image of our piano filled with fish, since the musical instrument subsidiary has absolutely nothing to do with Yamaha Marine”: I posted the image that Mighty Earth uses to promote its Fish Yamaha Out campaign, which has its very own Facebook page.

So that’s a Yamaha piano depicted in the image? That’s news to me. It looks to me like it could be any piano to represent music, with fish to reflect the ocean.

ORIGINAL POST, OCT. 9, 6:16 P.M.: OK, you have to follow the bouncing logic on this one.

The Yamaha Corp. makes musical instruments.

The Yamaha Corp. also makes motors for boats, especially boats used for fishing.

Fishing happens in the ocean, where ecosystems are constantly threatened by pollution and, in some critical spots, over-fishing.

Mighty Earth is a global campaign organization seeking to protect oceans, tropical forests and the climate, with aspirations to become “the most effective environmental organization in the world.”

As part of the movement to protect oceans, Mighty Earth’s “Fish Yamaha Out” Campaign descends on Long Beach Wednesday.

Anglers, activists and musicians hold a call-in day of action to demand that Yamaha CEO Takuya Nakata “stop supporting policies that threaten oceans and the delicate ecosystems within them by undermining the nation’s core fishery management policies,” according to organizers.

Those passing Polly’s Gourmet Coffee on Second Street, as well as locations in New Orleans and Kennesaw, Georgia, will be recruited to call Yamaha’s headquarters in Buena Park and voice “objections to the lobbying the corporation is doing to rollback current fishery policies,” say the organizers. “Companies like Yamaha are spending extensive time and money pushing legislation that will undermine laws that protect our oceans.”

Such speakers as marine biology student Darcy Tate and California Conservation Corps retiree Bob Wilkins are scheduled to “share perspectives on the importance of sustainable fisheries and the need to keep corporate lobbying out of environmental policies,” add the activists.

Speechifying is scheduled to run from 10-10:30 a.m., and the whole event is set to wrap up at 4 p.m. Polly’s is at 4606 E. 2nd St., Long Beach. Just look for the folks in fish costumes, strumming toy guitars and toting signs and banners.

Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.

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