Harvard wasn't pressured over Toshiba , former Japan adviser says
A former Japanese government adviser said he did not put pressure on Harvard University's endowment fund to influence its voting at Toshiba 's ...
BusinessThe logo of Toshiba Corp. is seen at the company's facility in Kawasaki, Japan, on Feb 13, 2017. (Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato)23 Jun 2021 12:10AMShare this contentBookmarkBOSTON/TOKYO: A former Japanese government adviser said he did not put pressure on Harvard University's endowment fund to influence its voting at Toshiba's contested shareholder meeting last year, and that the fund should"set the record straight".
Hiromichi Mizuno, until recently an adviser to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, was identified by a shareholder-commissioned investigation this month as an important figure in what it said was management collusion with METI to block the influence of foreign shareholders.
AdvertisementAdvertisementMizuno told Reuters he had volunteered to METI officials to speak with Harvard Management Co as he was about to start a fellowship at the university last year.Mizuno, a member of the board of US electric vehicle maker Tesla, said he had discussed potential risks for the Harvard fund, known as HMC, over voting at Toshiba. The conglomerate's top shareholder, activist hedge fund Effissimo Capital Management, was pushing for board seats. headtopics.com
HMC was also an investor in Singapore-based Effissimo, sources previously told Reuters.Mizuno made clear to HMC that he was not representing the Japanese government, he said.AdvertisementAdvertisement"I have no interest in whichever way you vote," Mizuno said he told the endowment's leaders.
Mizuno's comments to Reuters in an interview late on Monday were his first public remarks about Toshiba since the investigation found management colluded with METI to block the influence of Effissimo, HMC and other foreign shareholders, and provided new details about the talks. He had previously told the Financial Times he was not representing the Japanese government.
Mizuno's account also casts new light on events at Toshiba. The incidents detailed in the investigation have renewed concern about Japan's corporate governance and openness to foreign shareholders, and appear to cut against the government's long drive to win more foreign investment.
A spokesperson for HMC declined to comment for this article.AdvertisementA senior METI official with direct knowledge of the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity, backed Mizuno's account and said it was not reflected in the investigation.Toshiba declined to comment. headtopics.com
The independent investigation found Mizuno's role compromised the vote at the July 2020 annual general meeting after HMC, which held a more than 4 per cent stake, abstained from voting.It was not clear how HMC had planned to vote at the meeting.Mizuno told Reuters he tried to keep his dealings with Harvard friendly, and has asked the fund for some clarifications"to set the record straight".
Mizuno is the former chief investment officer of Japan's US$1.61-trillion pension fund. He resigned as a special adviser to METI after being named a United Nations special envoy, the government said in January.'HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE'Some of Mizuno's account stood in contrast with the investigation, which quotes a HMC letter stating the endowment received an unwelcome request from a person - apparently Mizuno - before the shareholder meeting and"found the exchange to be highly inappropriate in both content and timing".
The report said even if Mizuno spoke as a private citizen, shareholders would understand his government influence.METI has regulatory power over Toshiba's foreign shareholders because the company is considered a strategic asset, making nuclear and defense equipment.
Mizuno told Reuters in a follow-up message on Tuesday that he served as a channel for messages from HMC to METI and Toshiba after the fund became frustrated with the company, which has been dogged by accounting and governance issues and a weak share price. headtopics.com
Mizuno said the leaders of the US$41-billion endowment, Chief Executive NP "Narv" Narvekar and Chief Investment Officer Rick Slocum, welcomed his input.HMC did not make Narvekar or Slocum available for an interview.Effissimo had nominated three candidates to Toshiba's board at the Jul 31 meeting, all of whom were opposed by management. None failed to be elected although one received 44 per cent of the vote.
Mizuno said he wanted HMC to understand the potential consequences of the vote, given that new rules on foreign ownership in Japan could put scrutiny on HMC's ties to Effissimo.Sources previously told Reuters that Mizuno voiced the possibility of a regulatory investigation should HMC vote against the interest of Toshiba's management. Mizuno told Reuters he had wanted to help HMC avoid surprises.
"I made it clear I was only trying to give enough information" for the fund to understand how things worked in Japan, he said. Read more: CNA »
World's deepest pool for diving opens in Dubai
DUBAI - The world's deepest swimming pool for underwater diving has opened in Dubai, where people can descend 60 metres (197 ft) to a sunken city-themed landscape and play arcade games.
Adviser to jailed HK tycoon Jimmy Lai says Apple Daily to shut within daysHONG KONG: Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily will be forced to shut 'in a matter of days' after authorities froze the company's assets ... Thank god. Tabloid paparazzi trash. Hardly surprising. Communists do not allow dissenting views. Pity the HKers, the end is nigh. 撐蘋果日報 saveappledaily WeNeedAppleDaily jimmylai FreeJimmyLai FreedomOfPress FreePress
Japan counters China by stepping up its vaccine diplomacyJapan shipped COVID-19 vaccine doses to Vietnam on Wednesday after already shipping doses to Taiwan. The Japanese government also plans to provide vaccine doses to more ASEAN countries. Yes, thanks to Japan, 100+ poor Taiwan guys died in one week because of the AstraZeneca vaccines.
Uber Eats Japan charged for suspected breach of immigration law - KyodoJapanese police on Tuesday filed charges against the Japanese office of food delivery service Uber Eats and two company representatives for ... BoycottChina NoDogmeat StopTheTorture StopYulinDogmeatFestival 🤬🤬🤬👎👎👎👎👎
Support rising in Japan for Tokyo Olympics this summer: PollTOKYO: About a third of Japanese now back holding the Olympics, up from just 14 per cent last month, a new poll showed on Monday (Jun 21), though ... Nevermind,let greedy evil one get paid by what they did! They want2suffer more,let it,c who laughs more After d outcome. Like Bible said: What they plant, what they'll get lo!World Ending V soon bc of too many idiot!