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Politics

Spurred by COVID, Japan seeks fully online shareholder meetings

As pandemic persists, government aims to amend current law sometime next year

Japan is pursuing legal changes to allow company shareholder meetings to be held fully online as the coronavirus continues to spread.

TOKYO -- The Japanese government is seeking legal changes to allow corporate shareholder meetings to be held fully online, as the coronavirus pandemic has prompted many companies to mix limited online gatherings with actual physical ones.

Japan's Companies Act, which stipulates that corporations must publish a convocation notice with a specific "venue," currently does not recognize "online" as location. Shareholders meetings are thus not allowed to be held entirely in cyberspace, while a certain number of participants must gather physically for voting and other purposes. But business leaders have been calling for the lifting of such requirements.

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