Shareholders Meetings Peak with 600 Gatherings for Listed Firms

Jiji Press
People enter the venue for a shareholders meeting of Toshiba Corp. in Tokyo on Thursday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The season for shareholders meetings of major Japanese companies peaked on Thursday, when some 600, or 26%, of all Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed companies that close their books in March held such meetings.

Kei Uruma, president of Mitsubishi Electric Corp., where product quality inspection irregularities came to light one after another, said at the company’s shareholders meeting, “We will reduce the burden on frontline workers and create a culture that makes it unnecessary for them to engage in inappropriate conduct,” vowing that similar scandals will never be repeated.

A Mitsubishi Electric shareholder who attended the meeting showed understanding of the company’s reform efforts, while calling on the company to “improve profitability by racking up achievements.”

Mitsubishi Electric’s meeting was held at a Tokyo hotel and lasted about two hours, shorter than over three hours last year.

At a meeting in Tokyo, many Toshiba Corp. shareholders said that they were disappointed at the company’s decision to accept a takeover bid from a consortium led by investment fund Japan Industrial Partners Inc. and go private as part of its efforts to reconstruct its businesses, which have been mired in confusion since 2015, when an accounting scandal surfaced.

“The entire board of directors joined forces to consider the best interests of our shareholders,” Toshiba President Akihiro Watanabe said, seeking understanding from shareholders.

A Toshiba shareholder urged the company to maintain its stock listing.

Earlier this month, Toshiba said it recommended that its shareholders tender their shares in the takeover bid from the JIP-led consortium. The tender offer is expected to be launched in late July at the earliest. If the offer ends in success, Toshiba shares will be delisted.

The number of companies that received shareholder proposals for general shareholders meetings in June hit a record high.

At a shareholders meeting of conveyor belt maker NC Holdings Co., British investment fund Asset Value Investors Ltd. made eight proposals, and three of them, including a proposal on an increase in dividends, which the company had opposed, were approved by shareholders.

“It was regrettable that our claim failed to win support from shareholders,” NC Holdings President Hironori Kajiwara said after the meeting.

Among megabanks, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. held their shareholders meetings in Tokyo. An environmental group and others proposed amending the two financial groups’ articles of incorporation with the aim of strengthening their measures to fight climate change, but the proposal was voted down by respective shareholders.