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Japan’s tougher rules on foreign investment worrying investors

  • December 24, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 5:22 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Dec. 24 (Jiji Press)–A private survey has found that nearly 90 pct of institutional investors are worried about possible negative effects of a Japanese law revision to tighten restrictions on foreign investment.

 

According to the survey, 86 pct of the responding institutional investors in Japan and abroad believe the revised foreign exchange and trade law could negatively affect foreign investment in Japanese stocks.

 

Enacted in November, the revised law requires foreign investors to notify the Japanese government before acquiring a stake of one pct or more in listed companies in national security-related fields such as weapons, nuclear energy and semiconductors.

 

The threshold is far lower than the current 10 pct. The revised law is expected to take effect around May next year.

 

Organizations including CFA Society Japan conducted the survey between Nov. 15 and 27, collecting answers from 115 institutional investors working for asset management companies, banks and life insurance businesses and others.

 

Investors will be exempt from the tighter regulations unless they demand a position in the companies’ board or the transfer or discontinuance of key business.

 

But many respondents are critical of what they see as an attempt to restrain shareholders from exercising the right to propose.

 

Of the respondents, 70 pct opposed the revised law, citing the stricter requirement and the wide range of companies the obligation covers.

 

A respondent said the revised law is intended to suppress activist shareholders, and another that it bucks the current trend of improving corporate governance.

 

Market players say the scope of exemption is unclear and that details of the revised law are not widely known abroad because the government is not proving enough information in English.

 

The Finance Ministry is drawing up related ordinances.

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