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Business trends

Shareholders find their voice at Japan's annual meetings

Investor proposals are rising steadily, although transition is still at early stage

Takeda Pharmaceutical investors submitted an unsuccessful resolution to block large buyout deals without prior shareholder approval. (Photo by Hiromasa Matsuura)

TOKYO -- Annual shareholder meetings in Japan were once sedate, rubber-stamp affairs, often ending in minutes. But both management and investors are slowly embracing dialogue, with both sides exchanging views -- sometimes heatedly -- on how best to create long-term value.

This year, shareholders presented resolutions at 42 listed companies, a record high and an increase of 68% compared with five years earlier. While that is only about 2% of all listed companies ending their fiscal years in March, the steady growth shows that change is happening. Shareholder meetings are concentrated in June, as most companies end their fiscal year in March.

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