Notice to Shareholders

- Announcement of companies' measures for preventing expansion of the novel coronavirus disease taken at annual shareholder meetings -

May 22, 2020

Many Japanese companies usually convene annual shareholder meetings at the end of June. However, in convening such meetings this year, companies are expected to conduct measures for preventing expansion of the novel coronavirus disease which may cause companies to convene these meetings differently. Accordingly, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) requests shareholders to confirm the details of information shown in notices of shareholder meetings by paying more attention than usual.

In particular, METI requests shareholders to understand the following three points.

  1. Some shareholder meetings may be held at timings and methods different from those in the past;
  2. Shareholders are required to proactively make use of exercising of voting rights prior to the shareholder meetings by certain means, including personal computers and smartphones; and
  3. In principle, you, a shareholder, are requested to refrain from visiting physical sites of shareholder meetings since occurrence of any impacts on the health of other participating shareholders, including yourself, are a concern.

1. Timings for and methods of convening shareholder meetings different from those in the past

As they have been taking measures for preventing expansion of the novel coronavirus disease in their year-end closing of accounts and auditing work as well, companies may convene their annual shareholder meetings at timings and by methods different from those in the past. METI requests shareholders to closely confirm the explanations of companies’ methods of holding shareholder meetings shown in the notices of such shareholder meetings.

Some companies may postpone the timings for convening shareholder meetings. In this case, record dates of paying dividends or exercising voting rights (dates on which shareholders who are entitled to exercise voting rights or receive dividends are stipulated) may change.

Some companies may not postpone shareholder meetings but hold them in a “following-meeting” style (a style in which a company holds an annual shareholder meeting by dividing it into two stages and it approves or reports financial statements at a following meeting separately held at a later date). In this case, at the first shareholder meetings, shareholders are requested to decide on exercising their voting rights concerning dividends, a proposal for the election of officers and other issues while referring to companies’ achievements, future perspectives and other information that the companies provide as far as possible.

2. Making use of exercising of voting rights prior to the shareholder meetings by certain means, including personal computers and smartphones

Many companies have introduced a method in which shareholders are entitled to exercise their voting rights prior to the shareholder meetings by making use of written documents, the internet and other means without visiting physical sites of shareholder meetings on the dates of the meetings. METI requests shareholders to make use of exercising of voting rights prior to the shareholder meetings.

Some companies disclose their financial statements online as well. Moreover, some companies have introduced a new service, whose provision started in 2019, in which shareholders are entitled to exercise their voting rights using their smartphones and other means. These methods are expected to contribute to preventing expansion of the novel coronavirus disease as shareholders are not required to visit any physical sites of shareholder meetings or send written documents by postal mail, and furthermore, they are convenient as shareholders are able to view disclosed information and exercise their voting rights online. Based on these points, METI requests shareholders to proactively make use of these methods if possible.

3. Visiting physical sites of shareholder meetings

Companies have been taking a variety of measures for preventing expansion of the novel coronavirus disease in convening their shareholder meetings. However, if many shareholders visit physical sites of shareholder meetings, the condition of closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact setting (3Cs) may occur as a result. To avoid this condition, METI requests you, a shareholder, to take into full consideration any potential impacts and other influences on the health of other participating shareholders, including yourself, and to refrain from visiting physical sites of shareholder meetings, in principle.

Links to related information

Division in Charge

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

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