Shareholder Activism in Japan


The sweeping changes to governance and stewardship implemented in recent years have been accompanied by a gradual increase in shareholder activism. Recent high profile successes of activists may encourage a second, potentially much larger wave of activism, both home-grown and foreign. Yet many business leaders, still adapting to ever-increasing focus on returns and value creation in Japan, are feeling unprepared to deal with the challenges from shareholder activists.

Whether or not you believe that shareholder activists can ever achieve large-scale success in Japan, we believe that a lot can be learned from the value creation strategies proposed by activists, both in Japan and elsewhere, and that it has to be beneficial to periodically behave like an activist by placing an activist lens on your own business.

In this paper, we examine:

  • emerging opportunities for activists in Japan
  • what strategies activists have employed in recent campaigns in Japan
  • how companies can learn from activist strategies and mitigate the risk of an activist attack
  • how companies should respond to an activist campaign.
Shareholder activism in Japan