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Twentieth Meeting of Committee on Planning of the Corporate Reporting Lab Held

March 3, 2020

On February 20, 2020, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) held the 20th meeting of the Committee on Planning of the Corporate Reporting Lab focusing on a specific agenda newly set in light of the trends at home and abroad in corporate reporting* mainly in the field of non-financial information. At the meeting, participants exchanged views on challenges that Japanese companies are facing and other issues.

1. Background and problem awareness

As international society is facing growing uncertainty in the economy and external environments, companies need to further establish dialogues with investors and other stakeholders in order to create sustainable value. Based on this problem awareness, METI inaugurated the Corporate Reporting Lab in 2012 and, since then, the Corporate Reporting Lab has been sharing good practices on corporate reporting tailored to practical matters as well as information on international situations and has been exchanging views on these issues.

Recently, Japan has been advancing institutional aspects as seen in the establishment of the Stewardship Code and the Corporate Governance Code, and along with this, Japanese companies have been tackling efforts for improving specifics of integrated reports and other disclosures. These actions show that an increasing number of companies are interested in corporate reporting and consider such reporting important.

This growing interest in corporate reporting tends to expand worldwide. In particular, companies in European countries have been advancing rule-making for disclosures of non-financial information and Europe is trying to seek consistent and comparable parts between the respective, voluntary reporting frameworks.** This movement is expected to make an impact on the business management of Japanese companies.

One of the perspectives on which overseas experts place weight in discussions is the impact of non-financial information and value on financial matters. Companies are facing the need to deliberate which approaches they should take in information disclosure depending on the case, i.e., statutory disclosure or voluntary disclosure, in parallel with discussing approaches to ascertaining such impact on financial matters.

Backed by the popularization of integrated reports and other disclosures, an increasing number of Japanese companies have been proactively embarking on appropriate disclosures of their processes for corporate value creation and advancement of dialogues with investors. Meanwhile, some challenges are still seen in these efforts, such as: establishment of frameworks to take advantage of the awareness gained through preparing corporate reports and advancing dialogues with investors to improve business management; and development of internal systems.

In light of these situations, METI decided to tailor the agenda of the Committee on Planning of the Corporate Reporting Lab to meet the recent trends at home and abroad and to hold its meetings at a frequency of about once every two months.

Notes:

*1. The term “corporate reporting” refers to communication between companies and their investors and other stakeholders to disclose management policies and strategies to increase corporate value, governance, financial states and other corporate information.

**2. The term “reporting framework” refers to a disclosure framework to which companies refer in preparing corporate reports, such as the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) Framework, the SASB Standards and the GRI Standards.

2. Purposes

In light of the background mentioned above, the committee will consist of representatives of companies, experts, investors and other stakeholders as members and will launch activities for the following purposes.

3. Outline of the 20th meeting

Date and time: February 20 (Tue.), 2020; from 14:00 to 16:00

Venue: Future Dialogue Room, 7th floor, METI Main Building

Agenda: Global trends in corporate reporting and challenges that Japanese companies are facing

Note: The meeting of the committee was not open to the public in order to ensure an opportunity for members of the committee to exchange their opinions in a frank and free manner.

Details of the meeting:

At the beginning of the meeting, the members shared information on efforts involving corporate reporting and communication between companies and investors.

Some members pointed out that Japanese companies need not only focus on the respective recommended actions for disclosures shown in a variety of reporting frameworks but also to share and understand basic principles of these reporting frameworks and deliberate the purposes of corporate reporting. Moreover, the members exchanged views on approaches to separating mandatory disclosures from voluntary corporate reporting as well as approaches to creating balance in the described information, e.g., positive information and negative information and comparable information and individual information. In addition, some members expressed their opinions concerning the governance of corporate reporting, in particular, commitments by a board of directors and need for involvement of outside directors.

Note: The details of these discussions will be compiled and released after the 21st meeting of the committee scheduled to be held in around April 2020.

Related Documents

Division in Charge

Corporate Accounting, Disclosure and CSR Policy Office, Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau