On the link below, you can download S&P's report comparing global financial literacy in various countries. (See definition below.) S&P asked four simple questions about things like how interest works and ranked countries based on the percent of correct responses. At 41%, Japan has a relatively low score among developed nations, which ranks it just above Italy in most respects.
ICGN submitted a response to the call for comments to improve the corporate governance of listed companies in Japan. This includes comment on independent directors, accounting fraud and audit committees, procedures for class actions, translation of disclosure documents and caution around special class ‘Model AA’ shares.
The largest proxy advisory firm in the world, ISS, has issued its policy for proxy voting in Japan and other Asian countries for 2016.
Overview — In recent years, a small but growing number of companies have held annual shareholder meetings exclusively online or provided for online participation. Some of the early-adopting companies that decided to switch to an annual shareholder meeting held exclusively in cyberspace (without a physical meeting of shareholders happening simultaneously) received objections from investors and negative publicity, and this topic continues to be debated in corporate governance circles.
Stephen Bohrer, an M&A lawyer at Nishimura & Asahi, recently gave this presentation at a seminar in Palo Alto on the top five issues to consider when conducting M&A due diligence in Japan (in comparison to US transactions).
Japan now again seems to be breaking out of the doldrums it has been in since the early 1990s. Even though the daily news makes one wonder, I retain my optimism and faith, based on some six decades of studying Japan and watching it grow and evolve. I have addressed this theme in previous essays, and despite the subsequent ups and downs, I believe it applies today.
To ensure its voting policies take into consideration the perspectives of the corporate governance community and the views of its institutional clients, ISS gathers broad input each year from institutional investors, issuers, and other market constituents through a variety of channels and mediums. Following the release last month of its 2016 policy survey results, ISS is now making available for public comment certain proposed voting policies for 2016.