Japan needs to empower general counsel

Corporate scandals will only be avoided in Japan if general counsel get more respect from their companies.

Luciano Mortula

Japanese companies need to respect their general counsel more if corporate problems are to be avoided, a leading commentator has said. Patrick Dransfield pointed to the weak role of general counsel in Japan, saying they have an 'enfeebled role' and saying that, with a few notable exceptions, 'it is my opinion that the general counsel in Japanese corporations are not respected within their companies.' In a letter to the Financial Times, the publisher of the Pacific Business Press in Hong Kong, Mr Dransfield, responding to Kobe's announcement that it had falsified data on substandard products sold to some 525 companies, said that until Japanese companies embraced 'the concept of an empowered internal function, unfortunately, there will be more scandals similar to Kobe Steel.' He says that while South Korea’s in-house counsel numbers have grown considerably in the past 14 years, Japan’s has 'floundered in comparison.'

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