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Business

Gloves come off for shareholders as they review Japan Inc.

Institutional investors turn strict as their votes come under scrutiny

Fujifilm Holdings' shareholder meeting this year featured a barrage of questions about improper accounting practices that recently came to light.

TOKYO -- Facing fresh scrutiny, Japan's institutional investors are holding companies' feet to the fire at shareholder meetings, often voting against management appointments in a show of dissatisfaction with poor returns or governance.

Shareholders assailed executives at Thursday's meeting of Fujifilm Holdings, where accounting irregularities were discovered at a subsidiary in April. "How did the irregularities happen?" asked one attendee. "What does the company plan to do going forward?" inquired another. President Kenji Sukeno offered an apology for causing concern. The meeting stretched out for about two hours, half an hour longer than the year before.

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