© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Toshiba Corp. logo is seen at the company’s facility in Kawasaki, Japan, on June 10, 2021. REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s trade minister said on Friday he never directed an adviser to contact Toshiba (OTC 🙂 Corp shareholders after a report accused his ministry of colluding with company executives to pressure shareholders to adjust to their management plans.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is waiting for Toshiba to respond to the report from independent researchers, Hiroshi Kajiyama said at a regular press conference.
The report says that Toshiba management asked METI to help counter activist overseas shareholders at its annual general meeting last July.
The shareholder-commissioned report released Thursday also alleges that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, when he was chief cabinet secretary last year, verbally encouraged such pressure during a meeting with a top Toshiba executive.
Suga, who left Japan yesterday for a meeting of G7 leaders in Britain, has denied that accusation.
As part of METI’s response, special adviser Hiromichi Mizuno reached out to Harvard University’s endowment fund and warned it that its vote could be subject to regulatory investigation, sources told Reuters last year. Subsequently, the American university abstained from voting.
Mizuno, who describes himself as a friend of tech entrepreneur Elon Musk and sits on the board of Tesla (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc, oversaw Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) before becoming an advisor to METI. . In December, he was appointed United Nations Special Envoy on Innovative Finance and Sustainable Investments.
Mizuno did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Toshiba shares fell 1.7% in early trading, while the majority were unchanged.
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