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Toshiba’s inflammatory report could finally change corporate Japan apony


For the past 17 weeks, Japan Aponia Sunday night’s hit show has dramatized the life of Eiichi Shibusawa, the face of the new Y10,000 note, “the father of Japanese capitalism.” The tour still has months to spend, but we already know how it ends. Japan Aponia emerged in the 19th century as a unique, ethically and socially superior brand of capitalism whose qualities have received a great deal of attention today.

It’s a convenient myth that Toshiba may have simply squandered with its epic machinations with the government to suppress shareholder rights.

Perhaps the hottest challenge 147-page report Independent investigators published last week on Toshiba, which examines last year’s annual shareholders’ meeting, find out who is the worst coming. The selection includes the leadership of Toshiba, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Japan’s $ 1.6 ounce. Former head of the pension fund Hiromichi Mizuno, potential prime minister Yoshihide Suga և, in fact, the global image of Japan aponia as an investment destination. Nobuaki Kurumatani, who? resigned as CEO of Toshiba In April, it probably ends.

Beyond that, the really awkward question is whether the ostensible ostensible reforms of the last six years, during which Japan has tried to convince the world of its commitment to governance and the economy, have been a hoax that skeptics have always feared are superficial. is under. progress

The document, which is rich in criminals, shows the cooperation of the government և the leadership of Toshiba, in which both sides seem to consider the voice-activist shareholders as enemies. Toshiba 2020 AGM concludes that it has not been launched fairly. The agreement focused on relying on certain major shareholders to change their opposition to the AGM voting with a knife, on which Kurumatani’s survival depended. It claims that one of the executives called on the Ministry of Commerce to “beat” major activist shareholders on its behalf. The other used the way in which foreign funds “feared” the Japanese apony authorities, hinting that they might be armed.

The report suggests that some METI officials believed that leverage over foreign activists was available under the Foreign Exchange Act, a law that was revised in 2019. FT warns can have that result. Further: letter to FT The Deputy Minister of Finance for International Affairs assured readers that the activists are welcome to work with Japanese companies to increase corporate value.

The investigation, which took place only because the shareholders forced the company to do so, is so reprehensible that Japanese reports are rare. In an unprecedented move, four Toshiba board members issued a statement describing the report as “surprising, disappointing, and deeply troubling in some areas.”

As the four pointed out, the report’s detailed disclosure of the irregularities is a particularly painful contrast to Toshiba’s initial internal investigation into the matter, which has become a masterpiece of corporate governance’s contempt for corporate governance.

For all this, the report is a document whose blast radius depends on the viewer. For those who think the results are typical of an unusual corporate situation, for those who already thought Toshiba was an irreversible horror story of management, the air is thicker than smoking a gun. For those who have long suspected that METI is prone to interference or even conspiracy, it does little to allay fears that the ministry will do the same with other Japanese companies if necessary. It is not hard to imagine Carlos Goss, who has long argued that METI is one of the conspirators accelerating his 2018 arrest, using this report to reinforce that belief.

But it is a strong temptation to view the whole affair as a revelation of a wider truth. The fact that corporate Japan’s apony և’s the most direct attitude of the most directly involved government officials, in many cases, fell into the budget only in a larger direction. care for shareholders.

That conclusion, for all its negativity, could ultimately be useful if, as one of Toshiba’s major shareholders said, the report’s inflammatory nature now becomes the catalyst for real change. Toshiba’s long-term poverty risk, which began in 2015 with an accounting scandal that brought the company to the brink of collapse a few years later, has always been seen as eye-popping rather than sedentary. the same poor spectrum of governance as most corporate Japan aponia.

leo.lewis@ft.com:



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