Quarterly Business Forum Series

The Quarterly Business Forum Series is an ongoing occasion to network and learn about the economic and business environment in Japan. The typical event agenda is as follows:
12:00pm Lunch and networking
12:25pm Presentation
1:30pm END (mingling afterward) 

  Series supported by the Corporate Friendship Committee of the Japan Society of Boston

What's up next?

    • 16 Oct 2018
    • 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
    • CGIS Knafel Building, Bowie-Vernon Room (K262), 1737 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

    Varieties of Corporate Governance: Japan and the World

    Tuesday, October 16, 2018 from 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM 

    CGIS Knafel Building, Bowie-Vernon Room (K262),
    1737 Cambridge Street,
    Cambridge, MA 02138

    Join this lecture featuring Michael Witt, Academic Associate, Program on U.S.-Japan Relations. Affiliate Professor of Strategy and International Business, Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires. The lecture will be moderated by Susan Pharr, Director, Program on U.S.-Japan Relations; Senior Adviser, Executive Committee; Faculty Associate; Harvard Academy Senior Scholar. Edwin O. Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics, Department of Government, Harvard University.

    This is a free event. No registration is required. Visit their website for more information.

    • 15 Nov 2018
    • 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
    • 50 Milk St. 20th Floor, Boston MA 02109
    • 48


    New Insights on Governance and value creation in japan 

    Ryohei Yanagi, Ph.D. 

    CFO, Eisai Co., Ltd. and Visiting Professor, Waseda University

    Followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Yanagi on equity and value creation, Also featuring: 

    David Baeckelandt Nicholas Elfner Eileen Dibb

    Cambridge Associates

    Breckinridge Capital Advisors

    Fidelity Investments


    Light Lunch and Business Insight followed by Panel Discussion

    Thursday, November 15, 2018 

    12:00 PM - 2:00 PM

    Japan Society of Boston
    Cambridge Innovation Center, 20th Floor 
    50 Milk Street, Boston, MA 02109 
    *Please check-in with photo id at the reception desk 

    Event Agenda 

    12:00pm Lunch and networking 

    12:25pm Presentation / Moderated Discussion 

    1:15 Panel Discussion

    2:00pm END (mingling afterward) 


    Event Description 

    A perennial question for any of us actively thinking about the Japanese market is: when will there be a catalyst to unlock value - and what investor pressure will it take to bring that about?

    On November 15th, the Japan Society of Boston will tackle this issue directly with one of the foremost thinkers and practitioners in the space: Dr. Ryohei Yanagi. Japan Analytics' Toby Rodes will engage with Yanagi and the audience as discussant. Following the keynote, an expert panel and the audience will have time to question and discuss Dr. Yanagi’s insights with him.

    The opening chapter of Yanagi's recently published book: Corporate Governance and Value Creation in Japan, is a shot over the bow of Japan, Inc.  The chapter title: "Dawn of Corporate Governance: Japan Must Change," is a rare declaration in Japan, especially coming from an insider like Yanagi. His message, however, is unambiguous and consistent: Japanese management teams should do more with the resources entrusted them by creditors, shareholders and stakeholders. Dr. Yanagi’s research-based presentation will focus on the cost of equity as a governance problem, including: 

    1. The root causes of low valuation of Japanese listed companies.

    2. The rationale behind the "Ito Review" and subsequent call for improving the return on equity above (ROE) 8%.
    3. Evaluate why cash held by Japanese management teams suffers a roughly 50% discount from investors.

    Following the keynote, Yanagi will put on his hat as an active CFO. He will join a panel of investors to discuss how his prescription for the "G" of ESG fits into increased environmental and social scrutiny in the capital allocation framework. 

    Join us to hear and discuss Dr. Yanagi’s thesis on why Japan must and will change. The Japan Society of Boston, as the hub of Japanese cultural and business exchange in Boston for more than a hundred years, is dedicated to fostering friendships and business relationships. We create ample time for networking before and after each of our events.


    Keynote Speaker

    Ryohei Yanagi is Chief Financial Officer of Eisai Co., Ltd., one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Japan. He has built a credible reputation over the past two decades when it comes to corporate governance. In this time he has worn many hats in the governance debate in Japan, both as a leading finance academic as well as CFO of Eisai Corp, one of Japan's leading pharmaceutical companies.  His unique perspective allows theory to meet practice. He is also Visiting Professor at Toyo University and Visiting Lecturer at Waseda University Graduate School of Accountancy, where he teaches corporate governance, corporate finance and investor relations. He earned his Ph.D. from Kyoto University. During the last 15 years, Dr. Yanagi has conducted approximately 3,000 meetings in aggregate with global investors (about 200 meetings per annum) throughout his career with UBS as Executive Director and at Eisai as CFO. He was selected as the Best CFO in Japan’s healthcare sector in 2016 and 2017 by the Institutional Investor magazine.

    Panel Moderator

    David Baeckelandt is a Senior Director in Global Business Development based in Cambridge Associates’ Boston office. In this role he is responsible for proactive marketing and sales efforts to pensions, non‐profits, and family offices globally.


    Nicholas Elfner, senior vice president and co-head of research at Breckinridge Capital Advisors. In his role, Nick heads Breckinridge’s corporate credit research efforts and performs corporate credit analysis. He also authors a quarterly corporate bond market review and outlook and regularly contributes to the Breckinridge blog. 

    Eileen Dibb is a portfolio manager at Fidelity Institutional Asset Management. In this role, Ms. Dibb manages the FIAM Asian Growth strategies, including FIAM Japan Growth and FIAM Pacific ex-Japan Growth.  Prior to assuming her current position in 2008, Ms. Dibb was responsible for researching and analyzing Asian stocks for a global equity portfolio. 

    Dr. Ryohei Yanagi will join the panel to extend his perspective as CFO of Eisai. 


    The Japan/Boston Business Forum is designed and supported by the Corporate Friendship Committee of the Japan Society of Boston

    ** Please note that the we often take pictures at events for our records and sometimes for use in public media such as Facebook and blog posts. Registering for an event generally signifies acknowledgment that your likeness may be used in these ways. If you are not comfortable with this, please let us know and we can accommodate you.**

Past Speakers and Topics

Ken Hokugo,  Director, Head of Corporate Governance, Director, Hedge Fund Investments of the  Pension Fund Association of Japan
Japanese Management Practice Today: Is Japan Inc relevant?   

Wendy Cutler, Vice President and Managing Director of the Asia Society Policy Institute, in Washington D.C.
The US Outlook for Economic Engagement in the Asia-Pacific Region


Masahiro Mori, Chief Representative of GPIF America, in New York
GPIF's Leadership Role in ESG


Kosuke Motani, Chief Senior Economist at the Japan Research Institute
The Future of the Japanese Economy in a Dynamic Political Environment

Presented in partnership by the Japan Society of Boston and the Japanese Business Bureau of Boston


Glen S. Fukushima
, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress Former Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Japan and China Former Presid
ent, American Chamber of Commerce in Japan
U.S./Japan Business Relations in the Trump/Abe Era


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