Japanese government sets up high-level long-term sustainable investment panel

Leading investment figures involved in new group chaired by Professor Ito

A new high-level long-term investment group has been set up by the Japanese government – with members including leading figures such as the Government Pension Investment Fund’s Hiromichi Mizuno and governance expert Professor Kunio Ito, who chairs the new body.

Mizuno – in the running for a seat on the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) board – is CIO at the GPIF, the world’s largest pension fund.

Other leading investors represented on the panel include representatives from Nissay Asset Management, BlackRock, Dai-ichi Life and the Pension Fund Association.

The panel, called the Study Group on Long-term Investment toward Sustainable Growth, was established by the Ministry of Economy and Trade (METI) in August to enhance corporate value and promote mid- to long-term investment based on ESG factors.

It is led by Professor Ito of Hitotsubashi University, who led an earlier review of the investment market modelled on the UK’s Kay Review.The group holds its second meeting on September 26.

In its first meeting in August, the panel discussed the conditions and policies needed to set up an environment that furthers corporate sustainability. This included points such as how investments and corporate governance can create sustainable value, and the evaluation of this value as well as behaviour and communication between companies and investors.

Japan has increasingly been embedding ESG investment into its governmental structures.

The government adopted a Corporate Governance Code in 2015. The ‘Abenomics’ plan of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is driving reform after a series of corporate scandals and a stagnant economy.

In July the GPIF, which became signatory of the PRI in 2015, announced the launch of a tender for ESG indices, in a move which could spur the growth of ESG investing in the country. Link