Fast Retailing to Asahi Named to Women-Empowering Firms List

Fast Retailing Co., Asia’s largest apparel seller, and Nissan Motor Co. are among the Japanese companies that do the most to empower female employees, according to the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The world’s largest bourse outside the U.S. selected those companies and 15 others for its list of firms that provide child care services and career advancement opportunities for female employees, the bourse said in a statement yesterday.

“Expectations are increasing that women will help revive the Japanese economy,” said Hiroki Kawai, an official at Japan Exchange Group Inc., which operates the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The list was compiled with the help of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and is the exchange’s third specialty selection. The bourse has said it expects the rosters to encourage trading, which plunged 58 percent on the first section to 307 trillion yen ($3.34 trillion) in the six years ended Dec. 31.

“We started by picking a theme that would make investors want to cheer companies on by investing,” Kawai told reporters yesterday in Tokyo. He said it can be difficult for individual investors to carefully select from the more than 2,000 companies on the Tokyo bourse.

The exchange initially chose as many as two top companies from each of 33 industry sub-sectors, then narrowed the selection based on two criteria: Promoting women to management positions and offering support allowing a balance of work and family needs.

Patents, ESG

Last year, the bourse selected 10 firms with exceptionally valuable patents and a roster of 15 that showed the most awareness of environmental, social and governance issues.

The list of patent-value companies has gained 14 percent this year as of yesterday’s close in Tokyo, compared with the 9.7 percent advance for the benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average. The ESG-list companies have also risen 14 percent this year.

The women-empowerment roster includes: Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Nikon Corp., Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., KDDI Corp., Toyota Tsusho Corp., Kao Corp., Sekisui House Ltd., Asahi Glass Co., Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., Daido Steel Co., Tokyu Corp., Maruha Nichiro Holdings Inc., Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. and Daikin Industries Ltd.

The exchange labeled the women-empowering companies selection the “Nadeshiko” list, adopting the nickname for Japan’s national women’s soccer team, which won the World Cup in 2011. Nadeshiko is also Japanese for a type of flower.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average had its best performance in seven years in 2012, jumping 23 percent. That helped double the daily trading average to 2.2 trillion yen a month in January from 1.14 trillion yen in September, the exchange’s statistics showed.

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