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Business trends

Japan's boards evolve as outside directors occupy 30% of seats

Women and foreigners make gains, but preventing misconduct remains a challenge

The number of external directors at Japan's listed companies rose 9% in the past year, while the number of female directors grew 30%.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Independent directors account for more than 30% of board members at Japan's publicly traded companies for the first time, reflecting a corporate push to tap diverse experiences and knowledge that is also expanding the ranks of women and foreign executives.

The number of external directors grew 9% from last year to over 4,400 at Japan's listed companies with a fiscal year ending in March, data compiled by Nikkei shows. The overall share of such directors also increased to 31.5% from 28.8%.

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