Aberdeen Japan Investment Trust PLC

Japan specialists identifying exceptional companies

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Latest news

An update from our investment manager, Chern-Yeh Kwok - 13 October 2020

Japanese equities rose in September as Yoshihide Suga succeeded Shinzo Abe as the 99th Prime Minster of Japan. During the ruling party’s presidential campaign, which effectively decides the new prime minister, Suga emphasized the importance of continuity and stability amidst the pandemic. A number of key political heavyweights within the ruling party were retained in the new Cabinet, with 8 out of 20 ministers being re-appointed, including the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The MSCI Japan Small Cap Index rose more than MSCI Japan Index in the month, following a weaker performance for small caps earlier in the year. The yen continued to strengthen against most major currencies during the month.

In addition to maintaining fiscal and monetary stimulus, Suga commented on his willingness to accelerate deregulation and structural reforms, and to create a new digital agency to promote digitization within the government and the society. He aims to promote consolidation within the small- and mid-sized enterprise and regional bank sectors to help improve their competitiveness, and to induce greater competition among mobile phone carriers to drive down tariffs.

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone announced its intention to privatize its mobile carrier subsidiary NTT Docomo, which we do not hold, in what is expected to be the largest tender offer for a Japanese company. The deal could enable NTT Docomo to lower mobile tariffs further in response to the government pressure, and we are carefully watching developments.

The market sentiment was also helped by the downgrading of caution levels for Covid-19 by a number of regional governments. This included Tokyo Metropolitan Government which lowered its four-level coronavirus alert by one notch from the highest to the second highest. At the national level, a decision was made to add Tokyo to a domestic travel campaign from October. The campaign in which the government partially subsidizes domestic travellers’ costs was launched in July, but Tokyo was previously excluded due to rising number of Covid-19 cases. We expect that there may be waves of infections that could slow the progress of economic recovery – but not lead to significant shutdowns.

In other news, restaurant operator Colowide successfully completed its hostile takeover bid for its competitor Ootoya. While it is encouraging to see a rising number of successful cases of hostile takeover bids, which were seen as culturally taboo in the past, we see room for improvement in terms of protection of minority shareholders’ interests from controlling shareholders in such transactions.

About us

Japan is home to world-class companies with strong franchises that can play an essential role in any diversified portfolio seeking to deliver long-term growth.

  • Quality companies: we seek to identify world-class Japanese organisations with industry-leading positions that are well positioned to take advantage of the consumption of Asia's rising middle classes.

  • Active engagement: we believe there's no substitute for getting to know your investments first hand, engaging with all companies before we invest in their shares and while we hold them. In our view, good governance, company performance and sound capital management are closely linked.

  • On the ground: with investment specialists based in Japan we have the know-how to understand this diverse and complex market and identify those exceptional companies that are shaping their industries.

Key people

Chern Yeh Kwok

Chern-Yeh Kwok

Head of Investment Management, Japan

Chern-Yeh Kwok is head of Japanese equities having transferred from the Singapore team in January 2011. Chern-Yeh joined Aberdeen Standard Investments (Asia) in 2005 from MSCI Barra where he was an equity research analyst.

Chern-Yeh graduated with a BA in Journalism from the University of Missouri- Columbia and holds an MSc in Finance from the London Business School.

Hisashi Arakawa

Hisashi Arakawa

Deputy Head of Investment Management, Japan

Hisashi Arakawa joined Aberdeen Standard Investments (Asia) in 2016 and is based in the Tokyo office. He has a MPhys in Physics from the University of Oxford and a MBA from INSEAD and is a CFA® charterholder. He was previously vice president in the corporate banking group of Development Bank of Japan.

Flavia Cheong

Flavia Cheong

Head of Equities - Asia Pacific ex Japan

Flavia Cheong is Head of Asia Pacific ex Japan Equity on the Asian Equities team, where, as well as sharing responsibility for company research, she oversees regional portfolio construction. Before joining Aberdeen Standard Investments (Asia) in 1996, she was an economist with the Investment Company of the People’s Republic of China, and earlier with the Development Bank of Singapore. Flavia graduated with a BA in Economics and an MA (Hons) in Economics from the University of Auckland. She is a CFA charterholder.

CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are trademarks owned by CFA Institute

  • Chern-Yeh Kwok

    Head of Investment Management, Japan

    Chern-Yeh Kwok is head of Japanese equities having transferred from the Singapore team in January 2011. Chern-Yeh joined Aberdeen Standard Investments (Asia) in 2005 from MSCI Barra where he was an equity research analyst.

    Chern-Yeh graduated with a BA in Journalism from the University of Missouri- Columbia and holds an MSc in Finance from the London Business School.

  • Hisashi Arakawa

    Deputy Head of Investment Management, Japan

    Hisashi Arakawa joined Aberdeen Standard Investments (Asia) in 2016 and is based in the Tokyo office. He has a MPhys in Physics from the University of Oxford and a MBA from INSEAD and is a CFA® charterholder. He was previously vice president in the corporate banking group of Development Bank of Japan.

  • Flavia Cheong

    Head of Equities - Asia Pacific ex Japan

    Flavia Cheong is Head of Asia Pacific ex Japan Equity on the Asian Equities team, where, as well as sharing responsibility for company research, she oversees regional portfolio construction. Before joining Aberdeen Standard Investments (Asia) in 1996, she was an economist with the Investment Company of the People’s Republic of China, and earlier with the Development Bank of Singapore. Flavia graduated with a BA in Economics and an MA (Hons) in Economics from the University of Auckland. She is a CFA charterholder.

    CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are trademarks owned by CFA Institute

Karen Brade

Karen Brade

Chairman and Independent Non-Executive Director

Karen Brade was appointed a director on 1 May 2013 and assumed the Chair in July 2018. She has over 25 years of investment experience in a range of sectors and markets. She began her career at Citibank, working on various multi-national project finance transactions. Between 1994 and 2004 she was an investment principal at CDC Group plc (the UK Government’s Development Finance Institution) where she directed equity and debt investing, portfolio management, fund raising and investor development including India, South Asia, Africa and China. Since 2005 she has been an adviser to hedge funds, family offices and private equity houses and is currently the Audit Committee Chairman of Augmentum Fintech, Chairman of Keystone Investment Trust and a director of DRI Healthcare.
claire boyle

Claire Boyle

Independent Non-Executive Director

Claire Boyle was appointed as an independent non-executive director of the Company with effect from 1 February 2019. She has over 17 years' experience working in finance and equity investment management, working on funds over a wide range of sectors for international corporate, Government, State and retail clients, including unit and investment trusts. She was a partner at Oxburgh Partners LLP with responsibility for their European Equity Hedge Fund, and prior to that a European Equity Fund Manager at American Express Asset Management, where her role included both equity investment and business development. She is a chartered accountant, qualifying in 1993 whilst working in litigation support at Coopers & Lybrand, before starting her investment career on the UK research desk at Robert Fleming. She is currently the Audit Committee Chairman of Fidelity Special Values and a director of The Monks Investment Trust.
Sir David Warren

Sir David Warren

Independent Non-Executive Director

Sir David Warren was appointed on 1 December 2015. He had a career in the British Diplomatic Service of over 35 years concentrating on East Asia following his initial Japanese language training, including three postings to Tokyo, and culminating in four and a half years as British Ambassador to Japan from 2008 to 2012. He is an Associate Fellow of the Asia-Pacific Programme of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
  • Karen Brade

    Chairman and Independent Non-Executive Director

    Karen Brade was appointed a director on 1 May 2013 and assumed the Chair in July 2018. She has over 25 years of investment experience in a range of sectors and markets. She began her career at Citibank, working on various multi-national project finance transactions. Between 1994 and 2004 she was an investment principal at CDC Group plc (the UK Government’s Development Finance Institution) where she directed equity and debt investing, portfolio management, fund raising and investor development including India, South Asia, Africa and China. Since 2005 she has been an adviser to hedge funds, family offices and private equity houses and is currently the Audit Committee Chairman of Augmentum Fintech, Chairman of Keystone Investment Trust and a director of DRI Healthcare.
  • Claire Boyle

    Independent Non-Executive Director

    Claire Boyle was appointed as an independent non-executive director of the Company with effect from 1 February 2019. She has over 17 years' experience working in finance and equity investment management, working on funds over a wide range of sectors for international corporate, Government, State and retail clients, including unit and investment trusts. She was a partner at Oxburgh Partners LLP with responsibility for their European Equity Hedge Fund, and prior to that a European Equity Fund Manager at American Express Asset Management, where her role included both equity investment and business development. She is a chartered accountant, qualifying in 1993 whilst working in litigation support at Coopers & Lybrand, before starting her investment career on the UK research desk at Robert Fleming. She is currently the Audit Committee Chairman of Fidelity Special Values and a director of The Monks Investment Trust.
  • Sir David Warren

    Independent Non-Executive Director

    Sir David Warren was appointed on 1 December 2015. He had a career in the British Diplomatic Service of over 35 years concentrating on East Asia following his initial Japanese language training, including three postings to Tokyo, and culminating in four and a half years as British Ambassador to Japan from 2008 to 2012. He is an Associate Fellow of the Asia-Pacific Programme of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

 

Financial calendar

Year End 31 March
Accounts Published June
Annual General Meeting July
Dividend Paid July, December

Trust details

Aberdeen Japan Investment Trust PLC

Registered Office:
Bow Bells House
One Bread Street
London
EC4M 9HH

Registered in England and Wales as an Investment Company Number 03582911

Launch Date: October 1998

Risk Warning
Risk warning
The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and you may get back less than the amount invested. The tax benefits relating to ISA investments may not be maintained. Investors should review the relevant Key Information Document (KID) brochure prior to making an investment decision.
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