PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata launches full-scale operations

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Tokyo, September 1, 2006 - PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata (PwC Aarata) today announced the launch of full-scale business operations following the formation of a Management Board led by CEO Hideo Takaura, and the establishment of an Oversight Board.

As the newest member firm of the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) global network, PwC Aarata will adopt international best practices in accounting and auditing which fully conform to PwC methodologies, and will draw upon the experience, know-how and resources of the PwC global network in serving the needs of domestic and international companies in Japan.

Commenting on the announcement, CEO Hideo Takaura said, "PwC Aarata's mission is to provide an unrivalled level of service and to contribute to the healthy growth of the economy through the execution of vigorous, fair, and high quality auditing. The firm aims to always retain a fresh and innovative approach in order to become Japan's leading accounting and auditing firm."

Since its incorporation on June 1, 2006, PwC Aarata has focused its efforts on strengthening the firm's staffing, management and organisational structure and has already made significant progress:

Management: The Management Board comprises CEO Hideo Takaura, who heads the board; CQO Koji Hatsukawa, who is responsible for the firm's overall quality control procedures; COO Akira Yamate, who is responsible for client services; and CFO Katsunori Sasayama, who is responsible for planning and accounting, human resources and information systems.

Staffing: Focusing on recruiting top-class personnel, PwC Aarata has already built a total staff of 931 employees, including 94 senior executives, in Japanese "Shain", 468 CPA and Assistant CPA, 297 U.S. CPA and other professionals, and 72 clerks. It will continue to expand to ensure it has the scale required to satisfy client needs, with plans to reach 1,000 employees by the end of 2006. The firm's human resources development programs are to provide a primary focus on quality control in order to guarantee a corporate culture solidly grounded in high ethical standards.

Offices: PwC Aarata has opened offices in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka to provide services that meet the specific needs of clients in each region. The firm will continue to develop its operational network throughout Japan in response to client needs.

Clients: As of September 1, 2006, PwC Aarata's statutory audit client base had reached approximately 400.

Services: The firm has already built the resources required to provide both domestic and international clients with a comprehensive range of accounting and auditing services, in addition to services relating to capital market transactions, Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404 reporting and internal controls.

PwC Aarata is committed to pioneering global-standard quality and risk controls in Japan by basing its entire organizational framework on the International Standard on Quality Control 1 (ISQC1), and has installed a Chief Quality Officer (CQO).

PwC Aarata's quality control system is based on three "lines of defence":

  1. The execution of ISQC1 and other newly-introduced quality management systems, not only in relation to auditing services, but also for management practices, organisational structure and business operations as a whole
  2. Rigorous examination of the effectiveness of internal controls
  3. Monitoring by an independent committee that reports to the Oversight Board. This committee's key role will be to oversee the firm's quality control and risk management activities.

Contact:
John Short
Gavin Anderson & Company
Tel: +81-3-5404-0640

About PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata:
PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata was established by Japanese CPAs in June 2006. Its mission is to provide an unrivalled level of service and to contribute to the healthy growth of the economy through the execution of vigorous, fair, and high quality auditing. In order to fulfil this mission, PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata has settled upon the following three "In's" as its operating principles – Integrity, Intelligence and Innovation. As a member firm of the PricewaterhouseCoopers global network, PricewaterhouseCoopers Aarata will adopt international best practices in accounting and auditing which fully conform to PricewaterhouseCoopers methodologies. As of September 1, 2006, Mr. Hideo Takaura had assumed the position of Chief Executive Officer and the firm had a total of nine-hundred-and-thirty-one employees.