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MUFG, Mitsui Nab Top Spots on 2017 All-Japan Executive Team

The survey’s fifth edition also ranked Sony and Nidec at the top of their fields.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) swept its category in the 2017 All-Japan Executive Team survey, overtaking Mizuho Financial Group, which placed first in all four rankings across the banking sector last year.

Despite declining revenue from loans and deposits amid a prolonged low interest rate environment, growth of the firm’s global banking business boosted net operating profits over the last year, according to investor presentation material published Feb. 16 .

The fifth annual edition of the survey, which asked buy-side analysts, money managers, and sell-side researchers to name the best CEOs and CFOs at Japanese companies, follows four consecutive quarters of gradual expansion in Japan. While modest and largely driven by exports, it’s an improvement from the sluggish GDP growth that plagued the economy over the last two decades.

With this recent growth, Masaharu Kubo, chief financial officer at Mitsui Chemicals, said his company expects “healthy domestic demand,” which will help stabilize its basic materials business.

“At the same time, we’re continuously expanding our three targeted business domains, which are mobility, health care, and food and packaging,” Kubo added.

Kubo was voted the top CFO in the chemicals sector in the All-Japan Executive Team survey, moving up from second place last year. Mitsui’s CEO Tsutomu Tannowa also claimed first place in the CEO category, while the firm’s investor relations department took second place in its division. Survey participants ranked the best individual investor relations professionals in each sector, as well as the companies that excel among six investor relations attributes, including having board members and executives who are accountable and accessible.

In the consumer electronics category, Sony nabbed first place spots for its CEO, CFO, and investor relations team in a sector that also included votes for Panasonic and Yamaha.

Meanwhile, motor manufacturer Nidec scored highly in the electronics and components category, benefitting from the ongoing autonomous car craze. Masahiro Nagayasu, an investor relations officer at Nidec, said investors have been most interested in the possible future growth of electronic devices in the automobile industry.

“The automobile industry is moving to safer cars by [implementing advanced driver assistance systems]... which require our motors and ADAS censors,” Nagayasu explained.

Despite slow growth at home and political uncertainties abroad, Nagayasu said he is keeping his eye on a broader issue, specifically the legislative and regulatory movement on climate change.

“As our company’s target is to solve the issues of the global community through our business, we are committed to solving the ‘global warming issue’ by supplying the most energy efficient motors and electric generators to automobile, manufacturing, and other industries,” Nagayasu said.

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