Titles for the execution of company business vary from country to country.
The Japanese Companies Act only mentions the words “Director (Article 326)”, “Representative director (Articles 349 and 362)” and “Chairperson (Article 315)”.
When I translate the information of a company’s registration, I use the words, “Director” and “Representative Director”.
Although “Chairman” can refer to a person of either sex, I prefer to use the word, “Chairperson” because of the gender equality duty.
The contents above are the terms described in the Companies Act.
Having said that, it is common to define the titles, such as “Chairman of the board” （会長）, “President” （社長）, “Senior Managing Director” （専務取締役） and “Managing Director” （常務取締役） in Japan for the corporate governance purposes, and these positions are defined in the company’s articles of corporation.
The word, “President” refers to the highest position in an organisation. Recently, I also often use the term, “Chief executive officer”, because it is often used to describe the most important position in a company for running its business.
Unlike the translation of the word, “President”, the translation of the position of “Chairman of the board” in Japan is slightly difficult.
In Japan, the position is more of an honorary one, often given to the former President of the company, who is not very actively involved in its company’s businesses. In particular, it is often said only “Chairman” in the translation, but this stands for “Chairman of the board”, which means the person in this position is in charge of leading its board of directors. However, the word “Chairman” in general means a person in charge of a meeting. In Japan, the person who conducts the shareholders’ meeting and the board of directors’ meeting is the president of the company, so it might be a slight confusion, I must say.
I always feel that the simpler the contents are, the more it tests translation skills.
司法書士堀明子 – HORIakiko –
司法書士 / ビジネスコンサルタント / ライフ・コーチ
Shiho-shoshi Lawyer / Business consultant / Life coach
Tel: +81-(0)3-3249-1536 https://lawhelp4u.com/english/legal-advice-for-business-in-japan/