”Social Science Japan newsletter 54 takes up where it left off last issue and continues to explore the theme of governance. This time, the focus is on corporate governance. Six ISS scholars discuss the topic from various angles.
Tanaka Wataru summarizes the ISS research project and the book that inspired this issue’s featured theme. He explains what corporate governance entails and the history of its transformation in Japan. Cato Susumu analyses the dynamics of the wage structure in firms and shows how firm-specific human capital affects wages under a seniority system. Focusing on middle managers as actors in corporate governance, Owan Hideo looks at how they affect firm productivity and what measure can be used to evaluate their performance. Sasaki Dan highlights the concurrent passage, in 2014, of amendments to corporate and school educational law and argues that the reforms have reduced autonomy and increased externally-imposed or topdown control. He raises concerns about the consequences of mandating the inclusion of “neutral,” external members to the executive boards of large corporations. Nakamura Naofumi and Nakabayashi Masaki explore corporate governance in its historical context.
Nakamura looks at the corporate behavior and decision-making of kennin-juyaku (interlocking directors) in corporate acquisitions towards the end of the nineteenth century in Meiji Japan. He depicts the significant power that major shareholders of the time exercised in pursuing corporate mergers and break-ups to maximize their own profits. Focusing on the issue of moral hazard in corporate governance, Nakabayashi examines the possible distortion of market pricing and management structure through historical research of share prices and financial conditions of companies from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century.
For the ISS Research Report, Kenneth Mori McElwain, an associate professor at ISS, shares his research interests in comparative and quantitative constitutional analysis. Using quantitative data and methods to assess the statistical relationship between constitutional content and change, he explores why the Constitution of Japan has never been amended.
This issue’s Focus on ISS is the first of a three-part installment by ISS-affiliated Professors Nakamura Naofumi and Genda Yuji on Kibougaku (The Social Science of Hope). They introduce the Kamaishi Hope Study Project. Please refer to the ISS Contemporary Japan Group and recent publications by former and current ISS staff to learn about the exciting research and activities here at ISS……………..” Managing Editor, Ikeda Yoko
Read Newsletter here.
Source: Newsletter of the Institute of Social Research, University of Tokyo, March 2016
The Board Director Training Institute (BDTI) is a “public interest” nonprofit in Japan dedicated to training about directorship, corporate governance, and related management techniques. It is certified by the Japanese government to conduct these activities as a regulated nonprofit. Read a summary about BDTI here, and see a menu of its services for both corporations and investors here.