Rengo states in our Corporate Philosophy that we will “Act always with integrity, maintaining high ethical standards and ensuring strict legal compliance.” Compliance does not only entail simply complying with the letter of the law. We also strives to understand the purpose of the laws and regulations beneath the text and to meet the expectations and demands of society in order to practice fair and good-faith management.
Structures for Promoting Compliance
Rengo's Ethics Subcommittee has formulated policies on compliance with laws and regulations, and related duties are performed by the Legal Affairs Department and Compliance Promotion Office. Compliance promotion managers are appointed at all divisions, plants, and mills to coordinate with each other and further enhance compliance activities. Furthermore, Group companies are carrying out similar activities.
In June 2014, Rengo and some Group companies received cease-and-desist orders and administrative monetary penalties from the Japan Fair Trade Commission in regard to violations of the Antimonopoly Act. Our appeal was rejected in February 2021, but we have filed litigation rescinding the trial decision, and proceedings are still underway as of March 31, 2023.
Rengo conducts training and education on a regular basis to raise the compliance awareness of each and every employee. Since FY3/2013, this training has focused primarily on the Antimonopoly Act and has been provided to employees of Group companies as well.
Rank-specific education includes education on the basic stance of compliance for new employees when joining the company and lectures on compliance as a whole on occasions such as the promotion of employees to the General Managers of the plants or managerial positions. In addition, regular lectures by legal advisors are conducted at the beginning of meetings attended by officers, general managers, and Group companies’ top management.
In order to prevent violations of laws and regulations, Rengo, separate from the ordinary business report process via immediate superiors, has established whistleblower hotlines inside and outside the company (within a law firm) so that employees can report and consult on compliance matters. The whistleblower system can be used by officers, employees, temporary and contract employees working at Rengo, and retirees (within one year after retiring), and the external hotlines can also be used by employees of Group companies. The system can be used anonymously as well. In cases of whistleblowing, we strictly protect the privacy of whistleblowers, and at the same time handle issues appropriately so that whistleblowers are not treated unfairly.
Since FY3/2018, personnel have visited divisions in Japan, verifying the status of compliance with the Antimonopoly Act, the Act against Delay in Payment of Subcontract Proceeds, Etc. to Subcontractors, and other laws and regulations, checking for incidents of harassment, gathering information and sharing opinions regarding relations with local communities, and furthering understanding and awareness regarding compliance. In FY3/2023, three such visits were carried out while taking precautions against COVID-19. We intend to continue conducting visits, including visits to Group companies, in the future.
Protecting Intellectual Property
Rengo recognizes the importance of protecting its own intellectual property and observing the intellectual property rights of other companies, and has therefore established a dedicated department with a patent attorney for handling these issues. We also conduct investigations with the aim of securing rights for our own intellectual property and preventing infringement of intellectual property rights of others, and strive to utilize and manage intellectual property rights appropriately. We post educational materials regarding intellectual property and investigative materials regarding the technical fields in which we are active on our intranet. We also have established opportunities for educating sales personnel and research and development personnel. In FY3/2023, we received no claims of infringement of rights.