While current news about Japan's economy is invariably negative, some have proposed that the country is indeed in a situation of "bifurcation": inefficient, indebted, and mismanaged firms co-exit with a few internationally competitive large and small firms that are profitable even in the current situation. What explains this differential, and where do we need to look for well-managed, strong companies? Newspapers report on falling share prices, rising unemployment, increasing government debt, and bankruptcies. We have been told of the necessity of political and economic reforms, deflation target, and strengthened financial supervision. But if Japanese industry is to recover, we clearly also need activity in the private sector. Where will it come from, and where does it exist now? How can it spread? And can current "losers" be reformed? And if so, what does that mean for global competition?
This forum presents two most distinguished researchers in the field of corporate governance and finance. Mr. Seki will discuss recent changes in corporate governance and how these are likely to affect management practices in the future. While his main focus is listed companies in large industries, Professor Schaede will shed some light on the other side of the coin by looking at the good, the bad, and the ugly among the small firms in Japan.
After the presentation, the speakers look forward to discussion with the audience.
Ulrike SCHAEDE is Associate Professor and Director of the ICAP Executive Education Program at IR/PS (Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies) at the University of California, San Diego. Her main fields of research are Japanese regulation and government-business relationships; the Japanese financial system; corporate governance (Japan and Germany); trade associations and antitrust policy in Japan.
Schaede has written several books and papers on Japan's political economy. In 2000, she published Cooperative Capitalism: Self-Regulation, Trade Associations and the Antimonopoly Law in Japan (Oxford UP, 2000). Other publications include "Understanding Corporate Governance in Japan: Do Classical Concepts Apply?" (1994), and "The 'Old Boy' Network and Government-Business Relationships in Japan". Her most recent publication, co-edited with William Grimes, is Japan's Managed Globalization: Adapting to the 21st Century (M.E: Sharpe 2002). Schaede's current research is on small firms and small firm financing (including venture capital) in Japan.
SEKI Takaya is head of corporate governance research at the Japan Investor Relations and Investor Support, Inc. (J-IRIS). J-IRIS is a subsidiary of the Mizuho Holding. Seki's background is in finance; he has been working with a number of financial institutions in Japan and abroad. In his function as a researcher on corporate governance he has been interviewing Sir Cadbury, Drs. Cromme and Breuer and other leading figures in the corporate governance reform in Great Britain and Germany. Seki serves as special advisor for corporate governance issues to the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and is lecturing at Reitaku University.
Seki has written and several books and articles and edited volumes on corporate governance questions. In 2001, he edited and contributed to "Corporate Governance – the Reform of Britain's Corporations" (in Japanese), and "Hirogari wo miseru Corporate Governance" in Shihonshijō. His most recent volume is a report prepared for the METI which compares different corporate governance systems.