Japan's economy may be in the doldrums with a deepening recession, but one sector is making serious headway with reforms.
"What's really exciting in Japan is the big changes in corporate governance. Corporate leaders are now buying back shares and raising dividends," Jesper Koll, MD & Head of Japanese Equity Research at JP Morgan told CNBC this week.
Publicly traded companies in Japan, known for stingy shareholders rewards and cash hoarding, are changing their ways, with dividend payouts set to hit a record 7.3 trillion yen in the 2014 fiscal year, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
Recent examples include cosmetics firm Pola Orbis, which announced a 132 yen increase in annual dividend payouts for 2014. The nation's two largest banks are also making progress: Last month, Mitsubishi UFJ said it would spend up to 100 billion yen on share buybacks and raised its full-year dividend by 2 yen, while Sumitomo Mitsui announced a 10 yen dividend increase.