America's newest export to Japan could be shareholder activism. The California Public Employees' Retirement System, which owns $2 billion worth of Japanese shares, has asked Nomura Securities Co. and Daiwa Securities Co. to appoint outside directors to their boards and may do the same with other companies whose shares it holds. CalPERS says it wants to protect itself in the wake of Japan's securities scandals. Nomura says it "politely declined" their request, but at CalPERS' bidding it did appoint an outsider to the board of an unlisted fund-management subsidiary. Outside directors are rarely welcomed in Japan--as Boone Pickens learned.

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