Daily BriefsJapan

Daily Brief Japan: Rakuten Inc, Itochu Corp, Tokyo Stock Exchange Tokyo Price Index Topix and more

In today’s briefing:

  • Rakuten’s Netsuper Expands with New Partners
  • Itochu Grabs Eddie Bauer and Barbour
  • The Issue of Board Diversity Is Being Asked Anew

Rakuten’s Netsuper Expands with New Partners

By Michael Causton

  • The battle for online food sales continues to heat up, with Rakuten and Amazon squaring up to challenge for supremacy. 
  • Although Amazon has signed two of the largest names, Life and Valor, Rakuten is quickly catching up, last month adding Comodi-Iida to existing members, Seiyu, Beisia and Inageya.
  • Other supermarket chains are already preparing to sign-up with Rakuten. 

Itochu Grabs Eddie Bauer and Barbour

By Michael Causton

  • A few years back, Itochu Corp (8001 JP) announced its intention to aggressively grow its consumer brand business. 
  • It has just confirmed deals with Eddie Bauer and Barbour after a year in which it also signed Reebok and Under Armour.
  • Although a small part of the Itochu empire, the consumer brand business, alongside retail interests such as Familymart, are key to the trading firm’s longer term profits.

The Issue of Board Diversity Is Being Asked Anew

By Aki Matsumoto

  • The adoption of female directors is growing as Japanese investment managers follow the movement among overseas investment managers to oppose proposals for election of directors for companies without female directors.
  • In Japanese companies, where peer pressure is strong, it is doubtful that the opinions of about 10% female directors can be fully reflected in the discussions and conclusions.
  • Non-Japanese directors who don’t succumb to Japan’s culture of peer pressure is even smaller, and Japanese companies will be at risk if they determine management strategy without diverse values.

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