Japan minister says he by no means requested adviser to contact Toshiba shareholders By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Toshiba Corp. logo. can be seen on June 10, 2021 at the company’s location in Kawasaki, Japan. REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s trade minister said Friday he never directed an advisor to contact Toshiba (OTC 🙂 Corp. shareholders after a report accused his ministry of working with company executives to put pressure on shareholders to stick to his management plans.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is waiting for Toshiba to respond to the report by independent investigators, Hiroshi Kajiyama said at a regular press conference.

The report says that Toshiba management asked METI at its annual general meeting last July to take action against activist foreign stockholders.

The report released on Thursday, commissioned by shareholders, also claims that when Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was Chief Cabinet Secretary last year, he verbally promoted such pressures during a meeting with a senior Toshiba executive.

Suga, who left Japan yesterday for a meeting of G7 leaders in the UK, has denied the allegation

As part of METI’s response, Special Adviser Hiromichi Mizuno reached out to the Harvard University Endowment Fund, warning him that his vote could be subject to regulatory scrutiny, sources told Reuters last year. The US university abstained from voting.

Mizuno, who describes himself as a friend of tech entrepreneur Elon Musk and sits on the board of Tesla (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc., oversaw Japan’s $ 1.4 trillion government pension fund (GPIF) before becoming a METI advisor. In December he was named the United Nations Special Envoy for Innovative Finance and Sustainable Investment.

Mizuno did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Toshiba’s shares fell 1.7% in early trading, while stocks were largely flat.

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