1. Home
  2. News Releases
  3. Back Issues
  4. November FY2019
  5. Report on Corporate Law and International Competitiveness Compiled by the Study Group for Development of Ideal Approaches to Legal Functions in Japanese Companies for Enhancement of International Competitiveness

Report on Corporate Law and International Competitiveness Compiled by the Study Group for Development of Ideal Approaches to Legal Functions in Japanese Companies for Enhancement of International Competitiveness

- Focusing on approaches to legal functions and legal human resources required in the Reiwa Era -

November 19, 2019

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) hereby announces that the Study Group for Development of Ideal Approaches to Legal Functions in Japanese Companies to Enhance International Competitiveness compiled a “Report on Corporate Law and International Competitiveness - Focusing on approaches to legal functions and legal human resources required in the Reiwa Era -,” aiming to encourage managements to “create new business, (e.g., embark on new projects), fully taking advantage of legal functions, and to endeavor to improve and increase corporate value. This report, which enriches the details of the previous report released in April 2018, clearly describes how legal functions contribute to creating new business, shows measures for effectively introducing legal functions into organizations and presents specific case examples of leading companies, including recommendations on approaches for fostering legal human resources who are involved in corporate management and play a leading role in creating new business (hereinafter referred to as “management legal human resources”). In addition, the study group prepared two appendices to the report: “Skill Map for Management Legal Human Resources,” describing the legal skills required for each position, ranging from general staff to top management; and “Collection of Case Examples of Management Legal Human Resource Career Paths Models.” Along with these documents, METI also compiled “Guidelines on Seven Actions for Management’s Full Utilization of Legal Functions” as a reference to raise awareness among companies, including top management, and encourage them to change conventional business models.

1. Background

Japanese companies are now facing significant changes in business environments. As an effort to address this situation, METI established a Study Group for Development of Ideal Approaches to Legal Functions in Japanese Companies for Enhancement of International Competitiveness in order to hold discussions on ideal approaches to management and legal functions that contribute to fortifying the international competitiveness of Japanese companies. Since then, the study group clarified the significance of legal functions for companies and the need for and effectiveness of utilization of the functions, and based on this, in April 2018, the study group compiled a report on challenges in introducing such functions into companies and recommendations to address these challenges (hereinafter referred to as the “previous report").

Since its release, the previous report has been attracting attention from a variety of industries and triggering discussions mainly among top management and personnel in charge of the corporate legal affairs. Meanwhile, METI has received many requests from top management and legal affairs personnel of companies outside of those leading companies already engaging in cutting-edge efforts to present richer recommendations, more specific methodologies and a variety of clear options for practical actions in advancing efforts for change and improvement in order to enhance corporate legal functions in a practical manner.

To address this, in January 2019, METI inaugurated two new working groups under the study group to hold discussions focusing on specific challenges (the Working Group on Enhancement and Introduction of Legal Functions in Companies and the Working Group on Fostering of Legal Human Resources). Since then, the working groups held discussions to identify potential in legal functions from the perspectives of the “creation of new business” and the “creation of new value”; and to propose more specific measures and options and a framework which will encourage companies to create the desired legal functions in terms of ideal approaches to changing and improving organizational operation and fostering and winning human resources, both of which contribute to the creation of new business and value. As an outcome of the discussions, the study group compiled a new report titled “Report on Corporate Law and International Competitiveness - Focusing on approaches to the legal functions and legal human resources required in the Reiwa Era -.”

The Skill Map for Management Legal Human Resources, an appendix to the new report, which was compiled as a general and basic framework, explains required skills for each position, targeting the management-level personnel referred to in the title. Referring to this compilation, companies are expected to prepare their own customized skill maps.

The Career Compass on Management Legal Human Resources, which is a collection of career paths for management legal human resources and another appendix to the new report, presents a variety of example career paths of successful top management personnel to both motivate companies to improve their utilization of human resources and to encourage personnel of companies outside legal affairs and students, as well as the existing personnel in charge of legal functions, functions to broaden their outlook.

Along with these documents, METI also prepared “Guidelines on Seven Actions for Management’s Full Utilization of Legal Functions,” based on the new report, as a compilation aiming to raise awareness of these issues, in particular, among top management.

2. Future directions

While presenting the new report and the guidelines, METI will both disseminate and raise awareness of the details of the new report among industrial players and other associations in cooperation with related organizations, and will further exchange views with such organizations and industrial players so as to strive to advance multilateral efforts from the viewpoint of enhancing the competitiveness of Japanese companies.

Related Documents

Division in Charge

Competition Enhancement Office, Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau

Related website