As in previous years, the top earning executives in Japan over the past year include many non-Japanese people. At number 1 is Shin Jingho, Korean founder of Line (Japanese messaging app), far outstripping all the other big earners, pulling in US$315m to March 2022. He moved to Japan in 2008 to turn around parent company Naver’s websearch business, and somewhat alarmingly, claims to have learnt Japanese by watching gangster movies.
At number 2 is Kurotsuchi Hajime, the 100 year old chairman of Daiichi Koutsu Sangyo, a taxi and real estate firm in Kyushu. He has just announced he is retiring and intending to start a foundation for small to medium sized businesses. Perhaps that is where some of his US$138 million earnings will be going.
Yoshida Kenichiro, CEO of Sony, is the third highest earner, on US$137m. Christophe Weber, French CEO of Takeda Pharma is at #4 with US$135m. Kawai Toshiki, CEO of Tokyo Electron is in 5th place with US$121m.
Nikkei points out that the number of executives earning over Y100m a year (US$728,000) has increased to 652, 105 up on the previous year, the highest number in 3 years. It sees this as proof that Japanese executive compensation is shifting towards Western standards. With the top 5 including two Japanese executives who are not also founders (Yoshida and Kawai), this does seem to show a move away from the usual rule in long standing blue chip companies that the president should only earn around 10 to 20 times the average salary (around US$40,000).
Hitachi has the highest number of executives (18) earning over Y100m a year, then MUFG with 13, Toshiba also with 13 (presumably danger money for being associated with it), Mitsui & Co (9), Daiwa Securities (9), Tokyo Electron (8), Mitsui Real Estate (8) and Bandai Namco (8). Companies with 7 Y100m earners are Daikin, Sompo, Fujifilm, Nissan and Nomura.
Non-Japanese executives resident in Japan in the Y100m club include Simon Segars at SoftBank (British former CEO of ARM), Andrew Plump at Takeda, James Kuffner Chief Digital Officer at Toyota, James Shea at Sompo International, He Xian Han at Ferrotec, Costa Saroukos CFO Takeda Pharma, Stefan Kaufmann, CAO Olympus, Rony Kahan, Recruit (founder of Indeed), Eric Johnson, CEO of semi conductor company JSR, John Marotta former CEO of PHC (was Panasonic Healthcare) holdings and Alistair Dormer, former board director of Hitachi.
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