Titles for the execution of business in Japanese companies

Japanese business start-up consultant

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
Email: horiakiko@lawhelp4u.com
Tel: +81-(0)3-3249-1536 https://lawhelp4u.com/english/legal-advice-for-business-in-japan/

Do I need to explain Japanese “Anti-social forces” in an agreement?

Japanese business start-up consultant

The content of this article is what I consider to be generally accepted in Japan. Please note that this is not an unquestioned view.

In Japan, “Anti-social forces” is a difficult term to define in practice, and there was a news report in 2019 when Chief Cabinet Secretary at the time, Yoshihide Suga confirmed at a press conference that the term “Anti-social forces” is an ambiguous term open to differing views about the correct interpretation.

The official name of the Japanese law is “Act on Prevention of Unjust Acts by Organized Crime Group Members” (暴力団員による不当な行為の防止等に関する法律).
Available only in Japanese.

Clauses about “Anti-social forces” are often written in Japanese agreements that are recommended, especially those by government or council officials. When translating the “Anti-social forces” clause, the translation varies from agreement to agreement, but it basically states as follows.

The term, “Anti-social forces” is commonly used in Japan, but I think the term “Organised Crime” is common in Europe. The translation “Anti-social forces” has been in use for a long time and I use it in the same way.

What kind of organisation or activity is intended is defined in an agreement. When I translate an agreement, I often use the words “Racketeer” and “Extortioner”, because my main business target is a business operation and real property transaction in Japan. “Racketeer” is someone who makes money from a dishonest or illegal business activity, and “Extortioner” is a person who obtains something by threatening to expose a scandal.

No matter how far machine translation has progressed, I believe that it is humans who should ultimately be able to check contents. I believe that the day when machines can understand the nuances of the language is still a long way off.

In relation to “Anti-social forces”, there are criminal groups similar to the Mafia around the world, but they are generally a secret criminal organisation. However, from a non-Japanese’s point of view, Japan has a law that gives these organisation a legal definition. For example, Article 15 of the law says police forces can order them not to use their office in the event of conflicts and disputes arising, but conversely, it can be read as saying that they can use the office when they are not involved in a conflict or dispute.

In addition, Article 3 regulates them as “designated organised groups”, and the definition gives the impression that the National Public Safety Commission (the Japanese governmental body) legally designates and licenses those groups as if they are some sort of licensed organisation!

I might be delving into true Japanese nature, and going too far. However, I feel it is typical of Japanese ideas.

I will update every Monday.
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Japanese business consultant
Shihoshoshi Lawyer
(Judicial Scrivener)
Akiko HORI