Olympus Chronology

Adoption of Social IN as a New Management Philosophy, Diversification of Medical Business (1990-2011)

Under its new Social IN management philosophy, Olympus committed itself to work through its business activities to offer new value to society and bring health and happiness to people's lives. Olympus was founded with the aim of providing Japanese scientists with affordable products by manufacturing microscopes in Japan. That founding spirit was reflected in the new management philosophy, which became the foundation for all Olympus products and services.

The second half of the 1990s was an important time for Olympus, Following its entry into the digital camera market, sales in that product area reached a peak in excess of 300 billion yen. Sales of gastrointestinal endoscopes and other medical products also expanded steadily, and by the 2000s rapid growth was turning this business segment into a key contributor to corporate earnings.

In 2011, evidence came to light showing that management had been concealing losses, and those involved, especially the former President, faced criminal charges. Management reform became a priority for Olympus.

1990s (first half)

The BX Series of system biological microscopes

  • Olympus announces the EVIS100/200 Series endoscopic video systems. (Oct. 1990)
  • The Olympusμ (mju:), the world's smallest and lightest compact camera is launched. (Mar. 1991)
  • Olympus opens a new plant in Hinode, Tokyo. (Apr. 1991)
  • A camera manufacturing plant is established in Shenzhen, China. (Dec. 1991)
  • Olympus announces the BX Series of system biological microscopes. (Mar. 1993)
  • Masatoshi Kishimoto becomes President. (Jun. 1993)
  • Olympus introduces an ultrasonic videoscope system. (1993)
  • The FOCUS21 Vision (Social IN management philosophy) is adopted. (Oct. 1994)

1990s (second half)

  • A European endoscope repair service center is opened in Hamburg, Germany. (1995)
  • Olympus announces the Fluoview biological laser scanning microscope. (Mar. 1993)
  • Olympus launches its first digital cameras, the Camedia C-800L C-400L. (Oct. 1996)
  • A customer support center for magneto-optical (MO) disk drives and digital cameras is opened in Tokyo. (Apr.1994)
  • Olympus moves into bone replacement material business with the announcement of Osferion. (Mar. 1999)
  • Olympus commences sales of veterinary endoscopes. (May 1999)
  • A logistics facility is opened in Shanghai and a medical equipment service center in Beijing. (1999)

2000s (first half)

The Evis Lucera

  • Olympus establishes subsidiaries in Thailand (July 2000) and South Korea (September 2000)
  • Olympus launches the Camedia E-10, a full-featured digital SLR camera. (Oct. 2000)
  • A major management restructuring results in the adoption of an in-house company structure. (Apr. 2001)
  • Olympus enters into a comprehensive alliance agreement with Terumo Corporation in the medical equipment field. (Apr. 2001)
  • Tsuyoshi Kikukawa is appointed President. (Jun. 2001)
  • The IPLEX Industrial videoscope system is introduced. (Nov. 2001)
  • Olympus launches the Visera integrated video system for endoscopic surgery and examinations. (Apr. 2002)
  • Olympus announces the Evis Lucera, the world's first hi-vision endoscope. (Nov. 2002)
  • The company is renamed Olympus Corporation. (Oct. 2003)
  • The E-1 digital SLR camera with exchangeable lenses goes on sale. (Oct. 2003)
  • Olympus announces the Fluoview FV1000, the world's first confocal laser scanning microscope with a twin scanning system. (Jan. 2004)
  • The Imaging and Medical businesses are spun off to create Olympus Imaging Corporation and Olympus Medical Systems Corporation. (Oct. 2004)

2000s (second half)

The Evis Lucera Spectrum

  • A capsule endoscope system for the small intestine is introduced in Europe. (Oct. 2005)
  • A centralized base for the repair of endoscopic systems and the management of rental equipment is established within the Shirakawa Plant in Fukushima Prefecture. (Nov. 2011)
  • Olympus Medical Systems Services Vietnam Co., Ltd. is established to provide endoscope repair services in Vietnam. (Feb. 2006)
  • Olympus adopts the 2006 Corporate Strategic Plan with the aim of maximizing corporate value. (May 2006)
  • Olympus launches the Evis Lucera Spectrum, a next-generation endoscope system capable of observation in specific light spectra. (Jun. 2006)
  • A repair center is opend in Shanghai, China. (Oct. 2006)
  • Olympus launches the Visera Pro integrated surgical video endoscope system. (Dec. 2006)
  • The Omniscan iX non-destructive testing system goes on sale. (2006)
  • The Mishima Facility in Shizuoka Prefecture is established as a development and manufacturing base for the Life Science business. (Mar. 2007)
  • The Iplex FX industrial videoscope is launched. (Jul. 2007)
  • Olympus announces the E-3, a digital SLR camera with the world's fastest AF system. (Nov. 2007)
  • The LS-10 linear PCM recorder goes on sale. (Feb. 2008)
  • Olympus introduces endotherapy devices and a gastrointestinal videoscope system for use in endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD). (Oct. 2008)
  • Olympus Vietnam Co., Ltd. is established to operate a manufacturing facility for digital cameras and medical equipment in Vietnam. (Dec. 2008)
  • Olympus announces the LEXT OLS4000 3D measuring laser microscope. (Feb. 2009)
  • The Olympus Pen E-P1 digital micro-SLR camera is launched. (Jul. 2009)
  • Olympus agrees to divest its analyzer business to Beckman Coulter, Inc. of the United States. (Jul. 2009)


  • The BX3 system biologicalmicroscopes is launched. (Apr.)
  • Olympus announces the 100th Anniversary Vision. (May)


  • Michael C. Woodford is appointed President in June.
  • Olympus announces the Visera Elite integrated surgical video endoscope system. (Oct.)
  • Tsuyoshi Kikukawa is appointed President on October 14.
  • Shuichi Takayama is appointed President on October 26.
  • The concealment of losses is revealed, and a third-party committee is formed in November to investigate the situation.