The Japan External Trade Organization gathered outside experts Tuesday to review its rules on stock deals by employees in the wake of a recent unlisted share scandal, the semigovernmental trade-promotion body said.
It is the first meeting by a newly created ethics code review commission for JETRO staff. The panel is headed by former Fair Trade Commission chief Yasuchika Negoro.
The controversy centers around revelations that nine former and current JETRO employees, including a former executive vice president, bought unlisted shares in and received dividends from a Hong Kong firm with which JETRO has ties.
JETRO, an affiliate of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, is probing the purchases of Techno Center Ltd. shares. The Hong Kong entity runs an industrial park in Shenzhen, China, mainly targeting Japanese companies.
JETRO’s internal ethics codes prohibit staff from buying unlisted shares in companies or organizations with which JETRO has contracts or to which it provided subsidies.
But the codes have no stipulations on transactions between JETRO staff and entities without contractual ties with JETRO or ones that have not received JETRO subsidies. Thus, the purchases in the Hong Kong firm shares were not in violation of the rules.
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