To coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Chair of Japanese Law, University College London is organising a roundtable on Comparative Corporate Governance – the Case of Japan. The Roundtable, supported by the Law Society, will be opened by His Excellency Mr.Motohiko Kato, Minister Plenipotentiary of Japan and the Right Honorable Lord Harry Woolf, former Chairman of the Supreme Court.
The system of corporate governance in Japan was seriously underdeveloped in the 1980s and the 1990s. It was almost completely “insider” with shareholders’ interests not given much attention. Since the collapse of the economy in 1990 which resulted in a serious loss to shareholders, the system of corporate governance has gradually improved. After a series of legislative changes and changes in corporate practice, the system has become more transparent and fair. However, no system of corporate governance is perfect, and the Japanese system is not an exception.
The latest amendment to the Japanese Companies Act took place in 2014. While the past legislative work has been heavily influenced by American law, the UK model has been extensively studied this time.
After a year, it is about time to assess the current state of corporate governance under the amended law. There is an ongoing discussion on the board system, namely the role of non-executive directors. In addition to the Companies Act, now codes such as the Stewardship Code and Corporate Governance Code have been introduced in Japan. The actual implementation of these codes also needs to be discussed. Corporate governance in group companies has been addressed in the reform, but whether further improvement is required needs to be examined.
The current state of corporate governance in Japan should also be examined from foreign perspectives. The origin of Japanese company law is German. The Japanese system has heavily relied on the US model in recent years, but the UK and EU systems have been extensively studied. US, UK, and German experts have been invited to join this event to look at the latest Japanese system together with Japanese experts and discuss the future of corporate governance in Japan as well as in Europe and the US.
Format: Roundtable made up of a mixture of 30 practitioners, academics, government officials, and business representaitves.
Date: 20 May 2016
Location: Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall, London (TBC)