افشاگری حسابداری، حاکمیت شرکتی و مبارزه برای بازار : در مورد مذاکرات تجاری بین ژاپن و ایالات متحده
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|276||2012||20 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||10139 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Volume 23, Issues 4–5, June 2012, Pages 312–331
Developments in the socio-economic and political spheres impact upon accounting disclosure and corporate governance. In the context of globalisation, moves have been made ostensibly to converge practices towards global standards, which on the face of it equate to Anglo-American ways. Here, we focus on Japan in this context. We give particular attention to pressure apparently placed upon Japan by the U.S. vis-à-vis bilateral state-level trade negotiations – an under researched area – from the late 1980s. We critically interpret how the Japanese Government has responded to such apparent pressure.
Socio-economic and political developments have an impact on accounting and corporate governance. In the context of globalisation, moves have been made ostensibly to converge practices towards global standards, which on the face of it equate to Anglo-American ways. Here, we focus on Japan, giving particular attention to pressure ostensibly placed upon Japan, vis-à-vis bilateral trade negotiations with the U.S. between 1989 and 2008, to change its accounting and corporate governance practices towards U.S.-orientated global standards.1 Recognising the embeddedness of accounting and corporate governance practices, we seek to gain insights into how the Japanese government in the context of external and internal pressures responded to the apparent U.S. demands. In doing this, we gain insights into the roles and positions of accounting and corporate governance in the negotiations, enhancing understanding of the location of accounting and corporate governance in macro-level debates. Few studies have critically focused on Japanese accounting and corporate governance in relation to globalisation. Further, trade negotiations in this context are an important aspect of international relations with potentially significant local and global repercussions. Yet there has been a paucity of research focusing on accounting and corporate governance as areas or issues addressed in these negotiations. This study here aims to begin to fill the gap by offering critical, contextual and interdisciplinary analysis of key documents of the bilateral trade negotiations between the U.S. and Japan. We explore U.S. Government efforts to ostensibly pressurise Japan towards an Anglo-American mode of corporate governance (including accounting), how these efforts have translated into less than straightforward processes of change in Japan and we endeavour to gain insights into the actual and potential character and impact of the developments. The structure of our paper is as follows: some theoretical considerations; historical analysis of the role of the Japanese state in relation to socio-economic development and the development of Japanese corporate structures and corporate governance practices; historical overview of the U.S.–Japan relationship since World War II; analysis of documents, issued during the bilateral trade negotiations, which address accounting and corporate governance issues; summary of insights and potentialities.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Our analysis shows that international pressures to change modes of corporate governance including accounting are reflected in the context of trade negotiations. This has been an under researched area. During the bilateral trade negotiations between the U.S. and Japan from 1989 to 2008, the U.S. Government ostensibly pressurised the Japanese Government to adopt the Anglo-American mode of corporate governance. In the context of globalisation, the latter mode was taken to be and articulated as the perceived global standard (Nakamura, 2008, p. 2). In promoting change in corporate governance, the U.S. Government emphasised a concern to achieve deregulation of the Japanese economy to open up access to the Japanese market, an approach fusing with an emphasis on the benefits of free trade and capital flows in the context of globalisation. Global hegemonic pressure on Japan to converge its local corporate governance and accounting practices with the Anglo-American has led to a complex process of change in the local Japanese context, shaped by the interplay between local institutions and ways of doing with global institutions and perceived global standards. Our historical analysis pointed to dimensions of Japanese particularities, articulating socio-economic and cultural aspects. We delineated the key and central role of the Japanese state in development and the relation of this to the regulation and facilitating of business and an established Japanese corporate system, with its particular modes of financing, governance and accounting. We elaborated upon the position of labour in Japan, tracing socio-economic and cultural dimensions of a two-tier labour market in which the large corporations in particular adopt a duty-to-stakeholders approach that gives relative emphasis to employees. The latter approach is congruent with the life-long employment commitment that has been a key feature of larger Japanese corporations. It has provided a segment of the labour market with relative security. Beyond that, the relative economic prosperity of Japan, its social policies and its culture has engendered successes as indicated by important social indicators (Collison et al., 2007). We do not wish here to portray Japan as something like a haven of perfection in an otherwise imperfect world. Further, external pressures on a state/society may be considered in some respects as opportunities or forces for betterment (locally or globally) as well as threats or more negative forces. Acknowledging this, we do here seek to appreciate how the socio-economic and cultural particularities of Japan encompass some positive dimensions that may be lost. Our analysis, giving a sense of what is at stake in the context of globalisation and pressures to change local and established Japanese ways, gives emphasis to the threats in this respect. In the context of globalisation, the revisions of the law and the changes in corporate governance and accounting they imply are, indeed, of actual as well as potential significance for Japanese society and its well-being. Research has shown that, since the increased focus on shareholders and shareholder wealth maximisation, some large companies have engaged in significant restructuring, which has led to redundancies and thus constituted a threat to the principle of life-long employment (Hasegawa, 2011). Hasegawa (2011, p. 185) clarifies a change in direction: The strategy used by large corporations, as supported by Keidanren, was to weaken labor unions and decrease labor costs by increasing the proportion of non-regular employees, such as part-time or temporary workers, agency workers and contract workers, to as much as 30 per cent of the entire workforce. Hasegawa (2011, p. 187) also suggests that Keidanren are aiming at the firm level to change aspects of the Japanese employment system as a way of dealing with enhanced global competition. Changes introduced by companies in the name of remaining competitive globally have led to a deterioration of working conditions since the 1990s even from a more global perspective. Indeed, reporting on Japanese employees in this context, Hasegawa (2011, p. 200) notes: ‘A common feature amongst all these employees…regardless of disparities in income levels, is an inferior quality of life compared to their counterparts in other industrialized countries’. The change in working conditions towards more flexible forms of employment has been facilitated by the shift from an emphasis on employees within the Japanese stakeholder model to an emphasis on shareholders. This is characteristic of the globalisation context, in which neo-liberal values underpin practices. Cerny (2005, pp. 138–139) has made this point when writing about financial globalisation: It is this ‘stakeholder’ facet, which is most under threat from financial globalization, because international investors and foreign firms are interested primarily in ‘shareholder value’ (return on capital) and not in subsidizing loss-making activities. There is a growing level of public scrutiny both from the media and some more active shareholders that makes it more difficult to undertake restructurings if they are not justified by market criteria – in other words, if they do not involve real cost-cutting, structural streamlining, labor flexibilization, efficient investment and profit-maximization. Thus, the implementation of a universal standard (here, the Anglo-American corporate governance system) in a local context can have a significant impact on local well-being. For the Japanese context the threat or danger is that, following the Anglo-American model of corporate governance means shifting at least a dimension of Japanese ways and moving further away from an historically embedded emphasis on stakeholders – especially employees – and its rootedness in Confucian ethics and nearer to a corporate governance model that emphasises shareholders and is based on neo-liberalism reflecting an ethics of a narrow individualism. An emphasis on shareholder wealth maximisation can change how decisions are made at the firm level. For example, it may well entice managers to reduce the workforce in times of economic down-turn and threaten those currently in life-long employment. Anticipating such changes to the Japanese system, Iha already in 1991 pointed to a potential threat to the Japanese way of life (Iha, 1991). The move towards a global best practice gives rise to some particular threats in a multicultural, differentiated global context: the values and ways that underpin the Anglo-American accounting and governance system typically are different from those that underpin other national accounting and governance systems that are pressured to converge towards the Anglo-American system. In such a case material well-being as well as the culture and way of life of the nation state put under pressure to change may be threatened. In Japan, the actors involved, politicians, the bureaucracy and powerful interest groups, variously saw the U.S. demands and global pressures delineated in this study in terms of threats and opportunities. These ways of seeing are bound up in conflicts or tensions within as well as beyond Japan. Cerny (2005, p. 134) points to the complexities: The overall challenge of globalization for political actors is, as always, to minimize or compensate for losses while seeking to capture whatever benefits such processes of change might hold for their actual or potential constituencies. External pressure to ostensibly converge corporate governance (including accounting) systems and practices has promoted Anglo-American ways that differ from established Japanese ways. At the same time there has been a field of tension within Japan so that some constituencies have sought to effectively embrace neo-liberalism, at least in a Japanese way, whilst others have sought to resist or counter the external pressures. Some pressures to change have given rise to few problems being relatively non-controversial and securing ready acceptance in Japan. As far as accounting is concerned, Japan has long engaged in the international accounting policy-making process and the nature of the Japanese corporate system and its corporate governance system have been such as to de-emphasise external accounting usage. This does not mean that there is no controversy or tension around IASs/IFRSs in Japan, an area where more and more focused future research is very desirable, but based on the analysis here there is a clear sense that pressures to converge accounting are not at this stage deemed especially threatening to influential groups in Japan; things are already managed in terms of Japanese ways and in this respect a Japanese form of ‘convergence’ has been underway. From the beginning of the bilateral trade negotiations in 1989, rapid developments in corporate governance took place in terms of transparency and accounting disclosure, i.e. ‘convergence’ towards IAS/IFRS. There has ostensibly been support for this type of change by powerful interest groups within Japan as well as outside of Japan. Inside pressure (naiatsu) as well as outside pressure (gaiatsu) both were at work in facilitating change in the area of accounting disclosure. Some pressures to change, based on our analysis, have given rise to greater concern. Here, attempts have been made to resist or adopt through Japanese ways. Thus, a different picture emerged in relation to changes in the general monitoring mechanisms of the Japanese corporate governance system than vis-à-vis accounting. This is not in the sense of less than unreserved acceptance: we have pointed above to the pragmatic nature of accounting harmonisation as well as responses to converge corporate governance in Japan. Rather, this is in that change was slow and Anglo-American forms of monitoring were introduced into the Japanese system through layering. Layering, i.e. the co-existence of the Japanese and the Anglo-American systems, both positively responded to pressure to change and preserved established Japanese ways. Allowing for the co-existence of both systems did mean that the decision to converge the Japanese corporate governance system with the Anglo-American was in practice shifted from the macro- to the micro-level. According to Nakamura (2008), implementation of Anglo-American practices has been uneven and took a Japanese path. He elaborates: ‘Given the institutional realities, local business practices, cultural differences and the history of corporate governance…Japan could not implement Anglo-American practices in exactly the same forms as in the United States and Canada’ (Nakamura, 2008, p. 2). Further, close analysis points to limited convergence in corporate governance systems in practice. At the micro-level, companies implementing Anglo-American systems, especially in the first few years after the revision of the Commercial Code, were key global players and market leaders (Lawley, 2008). Commentators have pointed out that despite the high-profile adoption of the Anglo-American system, the revisions of the Commercial Code and the Companies Act had only ‘limited impact’ (Nottage et al., 2008, p. 7) with no apparent difference in the key orientations of many companies after the ostensible adoption of an Anglo-American style corporate governance system (Lawley, 2008, p. 133). In the context of Japan, one may here see the relevance in Kozuka's (2008, p. 245) view that: …there are no single trends in terms of changes or developments. Everything is changing gradually but in ambiguous directions. Sometimes changes appear to occur quite rapidly, but then some steps are taken backwards…An experience in another country offers a model, sometimes taken up as such…But then the innovation is absorbed into the local context, leaving a very different result from the original. Holding up such incremental and somewhat inconsistent changes may eventually bring Japanese society a long way, as has occurred in earlier historical periods. That the Japanese Government itself appears to have adopted neo-liberalist policy reflects its increasing need (gathering pace over the period focused upon) to integrate in the global market, its weaker position vis-à-vis any concern to preserve particularity and ‘the growing tendency of Japanese elites to see economic liberalisation as being in Japan's own interest’ (Schoppa, 2008, p. 72; see also Yoshimatsu, 1998). This study has touched upon an array of important interfaces between corporate governance (including accounting) systems and the socio-economic and cultural context, with the focus being Japan. It is suggestive of future research work, which we hope is encouraged. More research is needed to assess the impact of converging local corporate governance systems towards the Anglo-American global standard on economic, political, social, cultural and spiritual dimensions of the way of life of those living in Japan and in other countries experiencing hegemonic pressure to bring their corporate governance and accounting systems in line with the global standard.