As many Japanese companies have implemented a review process to find reasons why activist proposals received significant support from shareholders at annual general meetings (AGMs), corporate Japan has been witnessing a number of cases this year where activists had an impact on policy and have actually helped bring about change in companies' restructuring attempts, lawyers said. As a sign of this trend, one individual activist shareholder, Mitsutaka Yamaguchi, submitted a proposal to Mizuho Financial Group’s [TYO:8411] AGM for three consecutive years starting from 2015, seeking to amend the Articles of Incorporation to restore shareholder authority to vote on income allocation.
The proposal submitted by Yamaguchi, who owns just 30,000 shares of Mizuho, was supported by 41%, 48%, and 43% of the votes in 2015, 2016, and 2017 respectively. His efforts eventually yielded into a joint proposal presented along by the financial services firm’s board, and won 98% of the vote at the 2020 AGM held on 25 June.
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by Norie Hata in Tokyo