Annual compensation topped ¥100 million for 663 executives of listed companies in fiscal 2021, the highest tally recorded since it became mandatory for such firms to disclose executive pay packets in fiscal 2009, according to Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd.
Against a backdrop of strong corporate performances, compensation packages linked to business results and stock value have ballooned.
Tokyo Shoko Research compiled the tally based on the securities reports of 2,355 listed companies whose fiscal year ends in March.
The number of companies that disclosed executive compensation packages worth ¥100 million or more rose by 34 from the previous year to 287, with the number of executives increasing by 119.
The second-highest tally was logged in fiscal 2019, when 571 executives earned more than ¥100 million.
The cumulative total of all executive earnings increased by 33% in fiscal 2021 to ¥145.3 billion.
The top individual earner was Z Holdings Corp. Director Jungho Shin, whose pay packet totaled ¥4.335 billion. The majority of his compensation was in the form of stock options for consolidated subsidiary LINE Corp.
In second place was Hajime Kurotsuchi, a founder of taxi firm Daiichi Koutsu Sangyo Co., with ¥1.904 billion, which included a special payment of ¥1.594 billion that he received following his retirement as chairperson.
Kurotsuchi currently serves as an advisor to Daiichi Koutsu Sangyo.
Third place went to Kenichiro Yoshida, chairman, president, and CEO of Sony Group Corp., with ¥1.888 billion.
In recent years, an increasing number of companies have boosted executive compensation by linking pay packets to business performance and stock value.
Former Toshiba Corp. President Satoshi Tsunakawa’s executive compensation was logged as ¥523 million, but half of his pay package is determined by business results and stock value, so the actual amount he received would have been different.
By company, Hitachi Ltd. topped the list with 18 executives paid more than ¥100 million, followed by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Toshiba with 13.
In global terms, the level of executive compensation in Japan remains low. According to a survey by the Deloitte Tohmatsu Group, the median compensation for presidents and CEOs in fiscal 2021 was ¥1.79 billion in the U.S., compared to ¥130 million in Japan.
In the U.K., the figure was ¥550 million, in Germany ¥700 million, and in France ¥630 million.
“From the viewpoint of international competitiveness, it’s necessary to raise the compensation of executives,” said Hisashi Yamada, deputy director of the Japan Research Institute Ltd. “On the other hand, Japan’s challenge is that employee salaries have hardly increased at all.”