Bureau Chief, Helsinki
Ritsuko's Feed
Jul 17, 2014

Nissan’s Ghosn wary of Japan PM Abe target of 30 percent women in top jobs

TOKYO (Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co (7201.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn raised doubts over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s call to appoint women to 30 percent of top jobs by 2020, saying rushing to meet such a target could set the firm and its staff up for failure.

Abe issued his call as part of a strategy to encourage more women to work in the world’s third-biggest economy, replenishing Japan’s dwindling workforce in a rapidly ageing population. Yet with women now filling just 1 percent of corporate executive committee jobs, the target is ambitious.

Jul 3, 2014

Mizuho management is too far from front line -new chairwoman

TOKYO, July 3 (Reuters) – Mizuho Financial Group Inc’s
new board chairwoman, who was appointed to improve
governance after a mob loan scandal, said top management had
become too distant from the front line.

The Japanese bank was reprimanded in September for failing
to act two years after learning that a subsidiary had extended
loans to “anti-social forces” – a euphemism for organised crime.

Jun 18, 2014

After years of pressure, Japan bans possession of child porn

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s parliament voted on Wednesday to outlaw possession of child pornography after years of international calls for a crackdown, but avoided a clampdown on sexually explicit manga comics and animation depicting young children.

Japan is the last OECD nation to criminalize possession of child pornography, although it outlawed production and distribution in 1999, and has long been considered a safe haven for those buying child pornography.

Jun 6, 2014

Japan experts, not government, to set rules on outside directors

TOKYO, June 6 (Reuters) – Japan’s government sees better
corporate governance as crucial to boosting the competitiveness
of its business sector, but will leave new rules such as the
number of independent directors up to an expert panel to decide,
a senior Japanese lawmaker said.

The country’s listed companies are currently not required to
appoint independent directors, but a new corporate law revision
due to be adopted soon will encourage listed companies to hire
at least one outside director.

May 30, 2014

Japan’s Abe visits Singapore casinos as Tokyo considers following suit

TOKYO/SINGAPORE May 30 (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe toured Singapore’s two lavish casino resorts on
Friday as his country considers allowing casino gambling to
boost tourism and attract investment.

Abe, in the city-state to deliver a speech at a regional
defence and security conference, spent 40 minutes visiting
Marina Bay Sands, the three pronged waterfront resort built by
U.S. billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands, and
then headed over to Resorts World on Sentosa island, owned by
Genting Singapore.

May 26, 2014

New Japan activist fund to join ‘friendly’ camp, seek higher ROE

TOKYO, May 26 (Reuters) – A new Japanese investment fund is
set to join a small but growing band of “friendly” activists,
shunning hostile tactics that have previously failed to generate
change and instead working with management to improve
shareholder returns.

Yasunori Nakagami, chief executive and co-founder of newly
established Misaki Capital, said he plans to launch an
open-ended fund in July with a brief to invest in around 15
Japanese companies where he sees capacity for growth – with
advice from shareholders such as himself.

May 16, 2014

‘Friendly’ activist wins Japan’s trust as hostile funds struggle

TOKYO, May 16 (Reuters) – When activist investor Brian
Heywood first met the newly appointed CEO of Japanese musical
instruments maker Roland Corp over a year ago, he
launched into a passionate discussion about music rather than
the company’s weak finances.

That friendly approach led to a series of conversations on
how to improve its business and culminated in an announcement
this week of a joint 42.6 billion yen ($419.4 million)
management buyout (MBO) by CEO Junichi Miki and Heywood’s Taiyo
Pacific Partners, a fund based in the United States but focused
on Japan.

May 14, 2014

Japan PM to urge company boards to open up in governance push as resolve tested

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to outline plans to improve corporate governance as part of an updated economic strategy next month, aiming to overturn Japan’s reputation for neglecting shareholders and salvage his reform credentials.

The draft plans, which face resistance from Japan’s largest business lobby, would push companies to appoint more outside directors as part of a package aimed in part at winning back overseas investors who have turned skeptical of Abe’s ability to push through politically sensitive reforms on labor and trade.

Apr 23, 2014

Seibu shares rise in Tokyo relisting after IPO price cut

TOKYO, April 23 (Reuters) – Seibu Holdings Inc rose
almost 11 percent on its first day of relisting on the Tokyo
stock market, after its IPO price was slashed due to growing
doubts over the strength of Japan’s economic recovery.

The railway and property company was delisted a decade ago
after a scandal involving falsified shareholder records. Its
shares opened at 1,600 yen on Wednesday, in line with its
initial public offering price, and then closed 10.6 percent
higher at 1,770 yen, outperforming the Nikkei 225 average
which finished up 1.1 percent.

Apr 16, 2014

Mt Gox set to liquidate as court denies rehabilitation

By Ritsuko Ando

(Reuters) – Mt. Gox, once the world’s biggest bitcoin exchange, is likely to be liquidated after a Tokyo court dismissed the company’s bid to resuscitate its business, the court-appointed administrator said on Wednesday.

CEO Mark Karpeles is also likely to be investigated for liability in the collapse of the Tokyo-based firm, the provisional administrator, lawyer Nobuaki Kobayashi, said in a statement published on the Mt. Gox website.