An increasing number of Japanese firms are hiring women as outside directors. In fiscal 2016, Itochu and NTT Docomo will newly appoint women as outside directors. Out of the top 100 corporations in market capitalization, 54 are expected to pick female directors from outside, compared with 47 a year ago. These companies expect female directors to reflect their perspectives in management, as they draw up corporate governance guidelines and overseas investors are looking for diverse management talent.
Itochu endorsed the appointment of former Vice Minister for Health, Labor and Welfare Atsuko Muraki as an outside director at a shareholders meeting on June 24. Mitsubishi Electric and Tokyo Gas have also selected female outside directors, starting this fiscal year.
Women make up 18% of outside directors at the 100 major corporations. In Europe and the U.S., this ratio stands at around 20%, which suggests Japan is approaching the international level.
While outside directors, including men, who sit on the boards of multiple companies account for 49% of the total, the percentage of female outside directors who also work at different firms comes to 56%. This suggests that companies need to bring female executives into management in a more practical manner. (Abridged)