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Shareholders’ meetings peak in Japan amid virus outbreak

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26 Jun 2020 05:06:30 GMT9
26 Jun 2020 05:06:30 GMT9

TOKYO: The season for shareholders' meetings of Japanese companies hit its peak on Friday, with a variety of measures adopted to prevent participants from being infected with the new coronavirus.

According to a tally by the Tokyo Stock Exchange, 747 companies, or 33 pct of TSE-listed companies with their annual books closed at the end of March, held their shareholders' meetings on Friday.

To protect those attending the meetings amid the virus outbreak, companies checked their temperatures and asked participants to use alcohol-based sanitizers.

At Sony Corp.'s meeting, three proposals were approved, including one to revise its articles of incorporation to change its name to Sony Group Corp. next April.

Sony President Kenichiro Yoshida stressed that the name change, which comes with organizational changes, "will promote the evolution of each business division."

Sony executives told shareholders that the company has not decided earnings estimates for the current year, with no end to the pandemic in sight. They also said the company has launched a 100-million-dollar foundation to support health care and education.

The number of participants fell to 222 from some 1,500 the previous year. The length of the meeting was also much shorter, at 39 minutes.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., which has suffered a slump in its aviation-related business, saw the number of participants in its meeting fall dramatically from the previous year to 105. The meeting lasted less than one hour.

Companies have taken unusual steps to prevent the spread of the virus, such as asking shareholders to refrain from attending meetings and making meetings shorter. In the meantime, some companies have collected questions in advance and offered livestreaming of meetings, for example, to improve communication with shareholders.

In the current shareholders' meetings season, some companies have been grilled over slumping stock prices and weak earnings while others have faced proposals from shareholders with longer-term perspectives, including one related to climate change.

JIJI Press

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