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A number of major listed firms held their general shareholders’ meetings Thursday, with many facing angry shareholders who are demanding that management take responsibility for poor corporate results.

NEC President Koji Nishigaki apologized to shareholders for his firm’s lackluster performance in fiscal 2001, after the electronics giant suffered huge losses due to the fall in demand for semiconductors in the declining information-technology market.

“We feel that we failed to take sufficient measures” to deal with the market environment, Nishigaki said, bowing to the assembly.

But he brushed aside calls to step down to take responsibility, saying his task is to turn the company back around.

NTT DoCoMo apologized for the massive losses it suffered due to poor overseas investments. Shareholders, however, were not satisfied, with some claiming that NTT management is not taking its responsibility for the situation seriously enough.

Shareholders at the meeting for Nissan Motor Co. expressed their dissatisfaction over the automaker’s relatively low dividend, despite Nissan recording a record group net profit of 272.2 billion yen in fiscal 2001. It is expected to chalk up larger profits this year.

Nissan said it will pay an interim dividend of 4 yen per share for fiscal 2002, revising its earlier plan to skip such payments.

The yearend per share dividend will come to 8 yen, up 1 yen from the same period last year, while the full-year dividend for the current year will come to 12 yen, the carmaker said.

There was also an increase in firms making use of revisions to the Commercial Code that enable shareholders to cast votes via the Internet. The revisions were made to allow more individual investors to take part in separate shareholders’ meetings, which are often scheduled for the same day.

Sony, NEC and NTT DoCoMo allowed their shareholders to vote via the Net. But only around 1 percent to 2 percent of shareholders took advantage of the opportunity, according to the firms.

According to figures released by the National Police Agency the same day, the number of firms that said they will hold shareholders’ meetings on the peak day — June 27 this year — came to 2,010 as of June 10.

The figure is roughly 90 companies less than last year and marks the fifth straight year of decline since 2,350 firms held their shareholders’ meetings on the same day in 1997, agency officials said.

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