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Economics / Business

Corporate Governance in Japan

(Oxford University Press 2008)

Masahiko Aoki, Gregory Jackson, and Hideaki Miyajima (Eds.)

The early 1990s marked a threshold in the postwar Japanese political economy with the end of the dominance of the Liberal Democratic Party and the bursting of the financial bubble. Edited by Masahiko Aoki, Gregory Jackson, and Hideaki Miyajima, this book seeks to better understand the period usually referred to as the “lost decade” as one of flux. The contributing authors offer an account of the changing patterns of corporate governance in Japan, providing empirical evidence and taking a broader than usual view of the topic. Corporate governance involves relations among multiple stakeholders—shareholders, institutional investors, banks, employees, unions, and various groups of managers. It is embedded in institutional rules and beliefs that shape how stakeholders interact with corporate law, the financial system, labor law, industrial relations, politics, and the economy.
In three parts the book shows that, rather than stagnation and loss, the period after the bursting of the asset bubble brought a growing diversity of corporate governance practices across firms. Part One looks at changes in the ownership and finance of corporations. Part Two discusses changes in organization, employment, and corporate boards, while Part Three presents the evidence for diversity and institutional change. In its conclusion, the book examines the implications and prospects for the changes in the corporate landscape that have taken place since the crash. It is essential reading for understanding the events of the 1990s, and an important reminder of the influence they still have on present-day Japanese corporate governance.

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