Japanese issuers are making great strides in enhancing board diversity and independence, according to a recent report from proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS).

In the August 19, report, which analyzed the composition of Japanese boards that have already held their 2022 annual meetings, the number of boards that are at least one-third independent has risen by 15 percentage points to 94% of boards.

In addition, the number of public Japanese boards with at least one female director has risen by 12 percentage points to 79% of boards this year. However, the number of boards with at least one female inside director is at only 11%, a one percentage point from last year.

Japanese companies enhancing their board composition to be more in line with investors’ wants has been accelerated by 2021 revisions to Japan’s Corporate Governance Code, as well as the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s (TSE) listed section reform which took effect in April this year, requiring minimum levels of both independence and diversity on the boards of Japan’s biggest companies.

The Japanese proxy season was more active than ever so far this year, with the number of submitted shareholder proposals shooting up by 47.5% compared to the same time frame last year, according to Insightia’s Voting module.