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Developer Mitsubishi Estate Co., industrial waste recycler Daiseki Co. and Mizuho Trust & Banking Co. were honored Wednesday as the most “sincere” companies in Japan.

The selections were made by KPMG Financial, Inc. (KFi) and Integrex Inc.

KFi, a Tokyo-based consulting firm, and Integrex, an investment advisory/research firm, jointly came up with the idea of creating an “integrity award” to pep up companies with ethical and honest management, officials said.

“Looking at the recent spate of corporate scandals, it seems nothing is more important than integrity (when measuring the viability of businesses),” said Integrex CEO One Akiyama.

The firms awarded the top honor to Mitsubishi Estate, citing the solid commitment its top managers have made to regulatory compliance. The company’s president is actively engaged in the process and directly lectures employees of the developer as well as group companies about the importance of compliance, Akiyama explained.

It also gives full-fledged authority to a director in charge of ethics to investigate any illegal conduct committed by employees — including the president, she said.

Kudos also went to Nagoya-based Daiseki, which received second prize in the nonfinancial industry category.

Daiseki, which has made its ethics code public, has laid down ground rules with area residents and meets with them regularly, according to Integrex.

Mizuho Trust, the second-prize winner in the financial industry category, has a mechanism through which top management oversees compliance measures. It also excels in handling customer complaints, Akiyama said.

So what do the results really mean?

“It doesn’t mean that these companies will not be affected by a corporate scandal,” said Takeshi Kimura, president and CEO of KFi. “The chance is always there for any company to be plagued by scandal. But we know for sure these firms will act quickly to repair the damage.”

Integrex, which hopes to develop investment trusts incorporating the stocks of highly rated firms, did the ground work for picking the award winners, sending detailed questionnaires to all 3,609 listed companies in Japan. KFi did further research, whittling down the candidate firms to 14. A committee of experts selected the finalists in December, the officials said.

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