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PERCEIVED DEVELOPMENT AND UNPERCEIVED DECLINE OF CORPORATE GOVERNANCE IN JAPAN

Kazuhiro Tanaka
Hitotsubashi Journal of Commerce and Management
Vol. 44, No. 1 (44) (October 2010), pp. 13-28
Published by: Hitotsubashi University
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43295025
Page Count: 16
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
PERCEIVED DEVELOPMENT AND UNPERCEIVED DECLINE OF CORPORATE GOVERNANCE IN JAPAN
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Abstract

Japanese corporate governance has been strengthened over the last decade ('Perceived Development'), yet this is only one aspect of the story. We need to take a look at another aspect of corporate governance as well in order to fully grasp the essence and the reality of corporate governance in Japan. In this paper I refer to the former aspect as Vertical governance' and the latter as 'horizontal governance'. Vertical governance, which can be summarised as forced-discipline of the CEO, is the dominant perspective of the global governance debate to date. Horizontal governance, the concept of which is introduced here, can be summarised as voluntary-discipline of the CEO. I argue that horizontal governance has long been a salient feature within traditional Japanese corporate system, although it is relatively new in terms of its theoretical perspective. Vertical-governance-enhancing though they are, great changes in Japanese corporate governance from the late 1990's onward have a possibility of shaking the underpinnings of the horizontal governance in Japanese firms ('Unperceived Decline'). We need to be cautious about hailing these changes simply as those that improve overall corporate governance in Japan.

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