Shareholders ask for the strangest things….

Japan is famed in the West for many stereotype images, cherry blossom, salary men, overcrowded commuter trains and for those of us in the world of governance, a chaotic proxy season. But back to the commuter crush. Many Japanese women choose to commute in female-only carriages during rush hour to avoid being groped by men. Following a surge of arrests (2,000 in 2007) ten male shareholders of Seibu Holdings have requested men-only carriages to counter groping accusations.
In its recent notice of meeting, the proponents, acting on behalf of male commuters, are petitioning for carriages reserved for men, noting that there have been many cases of groping, as well as false charges of groping, on the Seibu Railway. The proponents also noted that the women-only carriages have been successful to an extent, but in the spirit of gender-equality, men-only carriages should also be introduced.
Seibu’s board of directors, opposes the idea of male-only carriages. In its reply to the request, the board said it has only seen few requests from Seibu Railway users for such an arrangement.
The vote takes place next Wednesday. We will try to let you know what other shareholders think but AGM voting results are not easy to come by in Japan.

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