Accounting standards serve as part of the market infrastructure, and the international convergence of these standards is advancing rapidly with the globalization of economic activities. The EU, which requires all listed EU companies to use International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs), will require foreign corporations also to apply IFRSs or equivalent accounting standards starting from 2009. In line with this, the EU is now conducting equivalence assessments on Japanese GAAP and the standards of other major nations. In the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is strengthening its partnership with the EU and announced a revolutionary proposed revision to accept usage of IFRSs without reconciliation to U.S. GAAP in the listing of foreign issuers starting from FY2009.
If Japan lags behind these international developments, it will not only hinder overseas fund-raising by Japanese corporations, but it may also isolate Japanese GAAP from the rest of the world and lead to the lowering of the credibility of Japan's securities market.
While deepening its partnership with the parties concerned, Japan also needs to accelerate convergence work with IFRSs and U.S. GAAP, as described below:
For the immediate future, Japan will steadily work to achieve the EU equivalence assessment of Japanese GAAP, regarding which the final decision is set to be made by the EU in 2008. A first assessment was made by the EU recently, and Japan will continue to accelerate work based on the Project Plan of the Accounting Standards Board of Japan (ASBJ). Through this work, we are confident major differences between Japanese GAAP and IFRSs will be eliminated.
To keep pace with the strengthening of the partnership between the United States and the EU, Japan will set deadlines if there are important items in addition to those targeted in the equivalence assessment and will promote convergence work between the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the ASBJ.
Japan will contribute to the long-term convergence work being conducted by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in the U.S. and the IASB and will seek to have its views incorporated. Moreover, Japan will perform ongoing coordination with its domestic standards. Nippon Keidanren will compile the views of preparers of financial statements in Japan and actively release their perspectives.
If Japanese GAAP is assessed to be equivalent to IFRSs by the EU in 2008, there should be official mutual recognition on a government level for the listing of Japanese corporations in the EU using Japanese GAAP and the listing of EU corporations in Japan using IFRSs.