Bloomberg : ”Japan Inc. Fights Back on Governance Overhaul as Waste of Time”

”Many Japanese companies aren’t happy about the biggest overhaul of corporate governance in decades — and they’ve been letting the world’s biggest pension fund know.

Investors have been wasting their time with pointless questions and meetings, some firms responded in a survey by the $1.3 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund published on Thursday in Tokyo. Not only that, asset managers are too focused on the short term, prioritizing dividends and share buybacks over sustainable growth, some companies said. As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attempts to make Japan Inc. invest record cash hoards, more firms complained about investor questions on capital efficiency than those that welcomed them, the survey showed.

While about 60 percent of companies said they appreciated the changes in investor behavior after Abe started new codes for investors and firms, the responses show a groundswell of discontent about Japan’s attempts to move closer to the U.S. model of shareholder capitalism. GPIF has attempted to help accelerate this process by signing up for the stewardship code and asking its asset managers to explain what they’re doing to promote better behavior at the companies in which they invest.

“There are many companies which pointed out undesirable changes,” GPIF said in a statement on Thursday. They said investors are just ticking boxes, it said………….”

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Source: Bloomberg

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