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GSG-NAB Japan and Financial Services Agency of Japan co-hosted the first "Impact Investing Roundtable"

09 Jul 2020  

Financial Services Agency of Japan and the Japan National Advisory Board of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG-NAB Japan) co-hosted the first "Impact Investing Roundtable" on Thursday, June 18th at the Financial Services Agency and via online.

The roundtable is composed of 35 professionals, executive members and experts mostly in private financial sectors in Japan, including those from major business associations, academics, consultants and start-ups. The aim of the roundtable is to deepen the understanding among these leaders on impact investing, together with the significance and challenges of addressing social issues through impact investing in Japan and beyond.

The roundtable commenced with the greeting remarks by Dr. Takeshi Mizuguchi, the Chairman of the roundtable and the Professor of Faculty of Economics at the Takasaki City University of Economics, and Mr. Satoshi Ikeda, the Vice Chairman of the roundtable and the Chief Sustainable Finance Officer of Financial Services Agency. Mr. Masahiko Uo, the Vice Chairman of GSG-NAB Japan then provided introductory presentation on "The era of Impact Economy - The current trends on impact investing and expectations going forwards".
Mr. Mitsuaki Aoyagi, the Vice-chair of Executive Committee of Social Innovation and Impact Foundation (SIIF) presented on the "Impact investing in the world and in Japan ~Current trends and beyond", followed by Mr. Masaaki Amma, the Executive Advisor of SIIF, who set the potential agenda for discussion.

Through a prior survey, the participants had named the following topics as crucial for further advancement of impact investing in Japan:
- Clarification and standardization of definition of impact investing
- Building success impact investing cases in Japan
- Establishing clear,consistent and harmonized impact measurement and management
- Advocacy and awareness-raising
In addition to the above topics, the participants actively discussed issues around fiduciary duty and touched on impact measurement. During the discussion, some commented that we should explore "what needs to be measured" versus just measuring "what they can measure" as social impact.

In addition to the official appointed members of the roundtable, the first study session attracted more than 50 observers, including those from related ministries. Mr. Aoyagi from SIIF commented, " It was a great pleasure to see such diverse participants across the fields, topped by Financial Service Agency, financial institutions, and Japan Business Federation. I believe that the significance of this roundtable is extremely high and I hope that this will accelerate the spread of impact investing moving forward in Japan."

Our common understanding of "finance" is drastically changing now. The capital has always been evaluated by two dimensions of "risk and return"; but now, people started asking "to whom" or "for what" such capital is being invested and what kind of outcome such capital will be generating at the end. Impact Investing is one of the ways to answer such questions. I trust that this roundtable will surely serve as an opportunity for us to deepen our understanding of such a trend surrounding impact investing.
- Mr. Eiichiro Adachi, Counselor, The Japan Research Institute, Limited
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the focus of capitalism is now shifting to stress on social value. Under such circumstances, we hope that impact investing will be supported by many more investors and will contribute to the revitalization of Japan's economy. There was a lot of valuable discussions and comments shared at today's roundtable and, moving forward, I hope that this roundtable will act as the power to push the impact investing forward"
- Dr. Yasuyuki Kato, Professor, Kyoto University and Chairman of ESG Study Group at Kyoto University

The next round of the study session is planned to be held around in the late August or ealry September.

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