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Canon appoints first outside directors after years of resistance


By Sophie Knight TOKYO (Reuters) – Canon Inc has appointed its first outside directors, ending years of high-profile resistance to opening up its boardroom as pressure mounts on Japans big companies to improve governance and better manage risks. The camera makers long-serving chief executive Fujio Mitarai, who headed Japans powerful Keidanren business lobby from 2006 to 2010, had argued that only insiders could understand the company well enough to serve effectively on its board. Canons surprise move follows similar shifts at Japanese bellwethers such as Toyota Motor Corp and Hitachi Ltd as globalization helps to prise open their decision-making structures to the outside world. Canon said on Wednesday its board would be joined by Kunitaro Saida, a lawyer who has served as chief prosecutor in Osaka, and Haruhiko Kato, a former commissioner of Japans National Tax Agency who became one of Toyotas first independent board members last June.

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