(Bloomberg) -- A review of Japan’s legal requirement for firms to provide quarterly financial reports is a matter of course, given Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s New Capitalism policy framework, according to the head of a ruling party finance panel.
“It’s meaningful to do this as we aim for a capitalism that will enable Japan to grow,” said Satsuki Katayama, a former Finance Ministry bureaucrat and head of a ruling Liberal Democratic Party committee on finance and securities. “But there is absolutely no intention to reduce the amount of information companies disclose,” she said in an interview Friday with Bloomberg.
Katayama added the legislation was not scheduled for revision this year, and that companies pressed by major investors to continue to provide reports four times a year would probably do so even without the force of law.
Kishida reiterated in a policy speech to parliament Monday that he would revisit the duty to provide quarterly reports. He did not give a time line or further details of the proposal.
Changing the law that compels quarterly disclosure is advocated by some to encourage a shift of focus away from short-term thinking. Japan introduced the legal requirement for quarterly reports in 2008. The European Union abolished it in 2013, while former U.S. President Donald Trump also proposed allowing companies to open their books less frequently.
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The premier, who took office in October, has found that his ideas at times can be interpreted as market-unfriendly, causing declines in equity prices. Kishida has previously proposed capital gains tax hikes and regulation of corporate share buy-backs.
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In his speech this week, Kishida said he would add disclosure rules this year to encourage investment in people and conduct a further review of reporting regulations aimed at tackling gender-based pay disparities. He largely reiterated the outline of his New Capitalism framework, aimed at achieving a virtuous economic cycle through better distribution of the fruits of growth.
“If we reduce the amount of information provided, if we do something that disappoints investors, share prices won’t rise, so we mustn’t do that,” Katayama said.
A requirement to provide data on environmental, social and governance activities, pay rises and digital training would enable investors to better understand a firm, she said. “Companies should reveal pay for men and women,” she added. “The disparity hasn’t shrunk as much as you might think.”
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