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Kansayaku’s role encompasses management supervision and accounting auditing functions. Its history goes back 130 years. It is important for foreign investors to understand this role in order to avoid negative surprises caused by corporate scandals.

Author: Ryujiro Miki, CFA

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Author: 三木隆二郎,CFA

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"Statutory auditor" and "corporate auditor" are often used as an English translation of kansayaku. On the other hand, its association defined it as "Audit & Supervisory Board Member" in 2012 and Japanese FSA uses kansayaku in the Corporate Governance Code.

Kansayaku was introduced from Europe about 130 years ago as a position with management supervision and accounting auditing functions. For a while, the management oversight function was removed, but in Japan, every time there were repeated cases of fraud, the dysfunction of management oversight by the board of directors was exposed, and the function of kansayaku was strengthened. For example, in the revision of the Corporate Governance Code in 2021, kansayaku was added to the list of persons subject to engagement dialogue with shareholders, and there have always been high expectations for kansayaku in the history of improving corporate governance in Japan. However, many overseas investment management organizations, which are often outsourced by Japanese pension funds, do not necessarily have a sufficient understanding of the role that kansayaku play (or can play), and the myth of kansayaku has been a wide-open black hole when they try to understand Japanese corporate governance.

The argument of this research is based on the premise that corporate governance is deeply rooted in each culture, and that there is no "global best practice" that fits any country in terms of which way is best in terms of corporate governance system.

Considering the unique role that kansayaku plays in the context of corporate governance in Japan, this paper uses the terms kansayaku instead of "Statutory Auditor" or "Audit & Supervisory Board Member".

Even if the purpose of improving corporate governance is not only to “enhance corporate value over the medium to long term”, but also to prevent fraud by management, the research advocate that we should pay more attention to independent kansayaku, who have legal authority to prevent management fraud, than independent directors.

It is also important for Japanese and foreign investors, who are the clients of pension funds, to build cooperative relationships with kansayaku to avoid "negative surprises" such as a stock price crash caused by corporate scandals. Therefore, for the purpose of reference when visiting companies, a trial template of what to ask when engaging companies on corporate governance is included in this research. 

監査役の英語訳として“Statutory Auditor”や“Corporate Auditor が使われることが多い。一方、日本監査役協会では”Audit & Supervisory Board Member“と 2012 年に定めているがコーポレートガバナンス・コードでは Kansayaku と原語ローマ字表記を使っている。

監査役は約 130 年前に経営監督機能と会計監査機能を持つ役職として欧州から導入された。一時、経営監督機能は外されたこともあったが、我が国では度重なる不正のたびに取締役会による経営監督の機能不全が露呈されたため、監査役の機能は強化され、一貫して監査役による経営監視を強化する方向性でガバナンス向上が図られてきたという経緯がある。たとえば 2021 年のコーポレートガバナンス・コードの改訂でも、株主との対話の対象者に監査役が追加されるなど、日本のコーポレートガバナンス向上の歴史の中で、監査役には常に大きな期待が寄せられてきた。



日本のコーポレートガバナンスの文脈で監査役が果たすユニークな役割を考慮して、本論では“Statutory Auditor”、“Audit & Supervisory Board Member”の代わりに“KANSAYAKU”を使用することを提唱する。

コーポレートガバナンス向上の目的が最終的には「中長期的な企業価値の向上」だとして も、適切な経営管理・リスク管理を行うことがその大前提だとするならば、独立取締役より も経営者の不正を防止できる法的権限を持つ監査役に、海外投資家はもっと大きな注目を すべきであると強調したい。年金基金の委託先である内外の日本株投資家にとっても、企業 スキャンダルによる株価暴落というような「負の驚き」を避ける上で、監査役との協力関係 を築くことは肝要だと考えるので、企業に対してコーポレートガバナンスをテーマにした エンゲージメントをする際に聞くべき内容についても私案を付している。(なお、本論は CFA 協会の電子図書館(ARX)にも和英両文を掲載する予定)


ARX Editorial Team

Director: Scott Lee
Content manager, Editor: Piotr Zembrowski, CFA
Coordinator: Natalie Yiu