Risk Management

Canon's Approach to Risk Management

Canon Inc. recognizes that the improvement and implementation of a risk management system to deal with serious risks that the Canon Group may face in the course of business is extremely important to ensure the proper operation of the Group and to continually improve corporate value.

Risk Management System

Canon Inc. has established a risk management committee based on a resolution of the Board of Directors. Chaired by the Executive Vice President, the committee has established three subcommittees: the Financial Risk Management Subcommittee, Compliance Subcommittee, and Business Risk Management Subcommittee.

The Risk Management Committee develops various measures to promote the Canon Group's risk management activities, including identifying any significant risks (violations of laws and regulations, inappropriate financial reporting, quality issues or information leaks, etc.) that the Canon Group may face in the course of business.

The Committee also creates an annual basic policy for risk management activities and, after obtaining the approval of the Board of Directors, carries out risk management activities within Canon Inc. divisions and Group companies. The Committee evaluates the improvement and implementation of the risk management system for each division and Group company, and reports the results of such evaluations to the CEO and Board of Directors. Results of evaluations conducted in 2018 showed no material flaws in the system.

Processes for Improvement and Implementation of Risk Management System

Processes for Improvement and Implementation of Risk Management System

Risk Management Promotion System

Risk Management Promotion System


In line with the basic policy prepared by the Committee and in their capacity as risk management promotion officer, the heads of Canon Inc. divisions and presidents of Canon Group companies each formulate an annual risk management plan for their own division or Group company, and assume responsibility for promoting related risk management activities. Risk management promoters appointed within each division and Group company assist risk management promotion officers in coordinating risk management practices.

Additionally, Canon Inc. administrative divisions with jurisdiction over miscellaneous risks associated with business activities, including the Legal Division, Human Resources Division, Security Trade Control Division, and Quality Assurance Division, control and support the risk management activities of each division and Group company.

Group-Wide Risk Management Communication

During training for newly appointed Canon Group executives conducted by the Human Resources Division at Canon Inc., participants are educated on the importance of autonomously improving and implementing a risk management system at each company, and the role of executives in improving and implementing such a system.

Similarly, when the Human Resources Division conducts training for newly appointed general managers and managers, it educates them on the importance of the system to manage legal risk and the role of management in constructing such a system.

In addition, an intranet website provides employees of Canon Inc. and Group companies with timely information, including the Canon Group's approach regarding risk management and updates on activities.

Financial Risk Management

The Financial Risk Management Subcommittee carries out activities to strengthen internal controls pertaining to financial risks for the entire Canon Group, including compliance with Japan's Companies Act and Financial Instruments and Exchange Act as well as the United States' Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

We endeavor to make qualitative improvements in ensuring the reliability of the Group's financial reporting. We support independent initiatives and self-driven educational activities at Group companies as they implement the PDCA cycle (review business procedures for financial risk).

As a result of these initiatives, Canon's accounting auditor determined that the company's internal controls related to financial reporting were effective in fiscal 2018.


The Compliance Subcommittee works to promote corporate ethics across the Group in accordance with the Canon Group Code of Conduct, and to improve the Group's legal risk management system. As a result of these initiatives, Canon had another year free from material fines or other sanctions in 2018.

Sections of the Canon Group Code of Conduct (Extract)

Management Stance

  1. Contribution to Society
    • Provision of excellent products
    • Protection of consumers
    • Preservation of the global environment
    • Social and cultural contributions
    • Communication
  2. Fair Business Activities
    • Practice of fair competition
    • Observance of corporate ethics
    • Appropriate disclosure of information

Code of Conduct for Executives and Employees

  1. Compliance with Corporate Ethics and Laws
    • Fairness and sincerity
    • Legal compliance in performance of duties
    • Appropriate interpretation of applicable laws, regulations and company rules
  2. Management of Corporate Assets and Property
    • Strict management of assets and property
    • Prohibition against improper use of company assets and property
    • Protection of the company's intellectual property rights
  3. Management of Information
    • Management in compliance with rules
    • Prohibition against personal use of confidential and proprietary information
    • Prohibition against insider trading
    • Prohibition against the unlawful acquisition of confidential or proprietary information pertaining to other companies
    • Appropriate use of confidential and proprietary information pertaining to other companies
  4. Conflicts of Interests / Separation of Personal and Company Matters
    • Avoidance of conflicts of interests
    • Prohibition against seeking, accepting or offering improper gifts, entertainment, or other benefits
    • Prohibition against acquisition of pre-IPO shares
  5. Maintenance and Improvement of Working Environment
    • Respect for the individual and prohibition against discrimination
    • Prohibition against sexual harassment
    • Prohibition against bringing weapons or drugs to the company workplace

Promoting Corporate Ethics

Canon Group Code of Conduct and Compliance Card

Canon established the Canon Code of Conduct in 1992, and later updated it as the Canon Group Code of Conduct in 2001. It clarifies the Canon Group's management stance and standards that Canon Group executives and employees must comply with in their duties. In addition to Japanese, the Code of Conduct has been translated into many languages, including English, French and Chinese, and adopted by a resolution of the Board of Directors of each Canon Group company, which also strives to ensure that it is known and practiced by all.

In addition, a portable Compliance Card has been created in Japanese and many other languages, including English, French and Chinese, and given out to Group executives and employees inside and outside Japan. Written on one side of the card is the San-ji (Three Selfs) Spirit, which has been the guiding principle of the company since its founding, and on the other side is a compliance test that enables employees to carry out self-questioning of their actions on a daily basis.

Compliance Card
Compliance Card

Corporate Ethics and Compliance Training

Canon Inc. carries out corporate ethics and compliance training for employees suited to the circumstances and conditions of the region where they operate.

For example, Canon Inc. conducts corporate ethics and compliance training as part of rank-based training for newly appointed general managers and managers as well as new employees.

Additionally, Canon Inc. and its subsidiaries in Japan have since 2004 designated a Compliance Week twice a year—once in the first half of the year and the other in the second half—in order to foster discussions in the workplace about compliance issues. Through these efforts, we strive to develop and improve operational processes to ensure that employees are aware of compliance and abide by the law.

Whistleblower System

Canon Inc. has established a hotline to receive information related to compliance issues. The confidentiality of callers is strictly maintained, and they are guaranteed not to suffer any unfair treatment for using the hotline. We continually work to encourage use of the system by raising awareness of the hotline services, using such means as an intranet compliance website and compliance training.

Hotlines have been established at nearly all Group companies inside and outside Japan. Canon Inc. receives biannual reports from Group companies on the operational status of their whistleblower system.

Legal Risk Management System

At Canon, we have identified significant legal risks that the Canon Group may face in the course of business (for example, violations of anti-trust laws, anti-bribery laws and export control regulations) by considering the potential likelihood and impacts on Canon's business. To minimize these risks, we are working to improve the system to ensure legal compliance by improving operational workflows and rules, providing law-related training to applicable employees, and conducting audits and checks.

Strict Compliance with Export Control Regulations

Canon Inc. has established a security trade control framework headed by the president and overseen by the Foreign Trade Legal Division within the Global Logistics Management Center. This ensures that we can implement proper security trade controls in compliance with strict regulations on the export of goods and technologies for civil use that could be diverted for use in weapons of mass destruction or conventional weaponry.

The Foreign Trade Legal Division works with divisions involved with individual goods and technologies to double-check such issues as whether export goods and technologies are controlled by regulations, or whether counterparties are engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction. We have also established and revised Security Trade Control Guidelines, and hold regular briefings and training sessions for applicable persons in charge at Canon Inc. and Group companies in Japan to further educate employees about the importance of security trade control. We also provide Group companies with templates for company rules, training materials for employees, and support via the help desk to help these companies establish control frameworks and rules.

Implementing such thorough internal controls at each Group company has ensured that the Canon Group does not violate security trade control laws. Canon Inc. has also maintained a bulk export license from Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry continuously since 1990. This license is granted only to exporters who exercise strict controls.

Compliance with Anti-Trust Laws

Canon recognizes that compliance with anti-trust laws, which apply to all of its business activities, from product development to production, sales and after-sales service, is absolutely vital.

Business divisions of Canon Inc. and sales and service companies of the Canon Group inside and outside Japan conduct regular training for employees of divisions exposed to the risk of anti-trust violations to educate them about anti-trust laws, give examples of legal violations, and provide everyday operational compliance guidance. Employees are encouraged to make use of Canon's anti-trust law hotline (connected to the Legal Division) when unsure of how to interpret or apply anti-trust laws.

Prevention of Bribery

The Canon Group Code of Conduct clearly stipulates that Canon will not receive benefits in the form of gifts or entertainment that exceed the social norm, or provide similar benefits to other parties.

Canon carries out regular training for employees of divisions involved with negotiations between public officials and business partners to inform them about the latest regulatory trends (including provisions to prevent bribery of public officials outside Japan) in major countries and details of the Code of Conduct.

Promoting Business Risk Management

The Business Risk Management Subcommittee is responsible for identifying serious operational risks in terms of their potential impact and managing them.

Action policies and plans for each identified serious risk are decided in cooperation with the responsible administrative divisions for the entire Canon group and implemented throughout Canon Inc. business divisions and Group companies, along with the promotion of risk mitigation activities.

Ensuring Complete Information Security

Recognizing that information security is a vital management task, Canon has established an appropriate management system for the entire Group, in accordance with the fundamental principles of information security regulations. The steps that we take under this system include measures to prevent leaks of confidential information, handle external cyber-attacks, bolster information security at production facilities, and provide information security training to raise employee awareness.

Since 2005, Canon has had external certification, ISO27001, for its information security management systems.

Information Security Management System Operations

The Group Executive in charge of the Information & Communication Systems Headquarters is the senior executive in charge of information security at Canon and has decision-making responsibility for information security measures. The executive oversees the Information & Communication Systems Headquarters, which is the organization responsible for managing information security across the Canon Group.

If an information security incident occurs, the matter must be reported to the Information & Communication Systems Headquarters. It may also be reported to the Risk Management Committee, depending on circumstances.

The Information & Communication Systems Headquarters formulated the Canon Group Information Security Rules to ensure the same level of measures and a consistent approach to information security are applied across the Canon Group globally. Each Group company creates regulations and guidelines based on these rules in line with its needs, and conducts related training and awareness activities. Periodic inspections are also carried out to assess the status of each Group company's information security measures and enable improvements or revisions as needed.

In 2018, information security checks were again carried out at 20 Group companies in Japan and 17 Group companies overseas.

CSIRT*, a dedicated team for dealing with information security incidents, was created within Canon Inc.'s Information & Communication Systems Headquarters in 2015. At that time, Canon joined the Nippon CSIRT Association (NCA) to strengthen collaboration with CSIRTs in other companies.

  • * CSIRT: Computer Security Incident Response Team. This is a dedicated, organized group that deals with incidents involving computer security.

Information System Security Measures

Canon implements measures to safeguard the three elements of information security: confidentiality, integrity, and availability*1.

  • *1 Confidentiality: Enable only authorized personnel to access information.
    Integrity: Ensure data and processing methods are accurate and cannot be modified without authorization.
    Availability: Make data accessible to authorized personnel when needed.

As part of measures to prevent the leakage of confidential data, we ensure that critical information is stored using a dedicated, access-controlled system with reinforced security and auto-recorded user activity. In addition, we have established an environment in which employees can safely access the company's information assets while away on a business trip, and we have also placed restrictions on email attachments and taking company computers and storage media offsite.

As a measure against cyber-attacks, we use monitoring systems to identify any suspicious emails with possible malware*2 attachments. We also monitor unauthorized online communications from internal sources to try and prevent attacks from causing more widespread damage.

  • *2 Malware: malicious software (including computer viruses and ransomware) created with the deliberate intention of performing unauthorized or harmful operations.

In 2018, we also initiated further risk mitigation measures in anticipation of a heightened risk of cyber-attacks ahead of Rugby World Cup 2019TM, Japan and the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Security Measures for Production Facilities

Canon implements security measures for its production facilities to ensure malware, cyber-attacks or other information security issues do not reduce productive capacity or otherwise disrupt production plans.

In the past, corporate mainframes or online information systems were the major targets for cyber-attacks. Today, the growing use of off-the-shelf OS software and networks means that production facilities attract the same level of information security risk. A separate approach is needed for production systems because production lead-times are longer than the customer support periods for off-the-shelf OS software. In 2017, we began undertaking critical information security audits for Canon Inc. and Canon Group production companies in Japan. We also began monitoring the networks linked to important facilities and production lines for any unauthorized activity.

In 2018, similar security audits of production facilities were conducted at Group production companies overseas as well.

Information Security Training to Raise Employee Awareness

In order to maintain and improve information security, Canon is focusing on raising awareness among employees who use information systems.

Both regular and mid-career hires are thoroughly trained on Canon's information security measures and rules through group training. In addition, all employees undergo annual information security training using our e-learning system.

In 2018, roughly 25,000 employees—equivalent to Canon Inc.'s total workforce—received information security training. This included training to develop information security literacy*, including how to deal with suspicious emails, measures to prevent email misdirection, and other IT protocols. In addition, special training sessions based on a targeted email attack were conducted involving roughly 78,000 Canon Inc. and Group company employees to provide practical instruction in responding appropriately to suspicious emails so widespread damage is avoided.

  • * Information security literacy: knowledge and skills needed to implement proper information security measures.

Protecting Personal Information

Canon recognizes that personal information is an important asset, and that protecting this asset is one of its social responsibilities.

At Canon Inc., we have created rules to safeguard personal information, including a Personal Information Protection Policy and Personal Information Protection Rules, and conduct training and audits regularly as part of our system to prevent leaks of information.

Starting in 2015, we expanded the scope of these activities to include all Group companies, creating a centralized management system covering the entire Canon Group. As a result, in 2018 the Group had another year free of serious incidents involving the loss or leakage of personal information at Canon Inc. or any of its Group companies. Canon did not receive any privacy infringement complaints from customers in 2018.

Canon Inc. and Group companies in Japan have also implemented measures to deal with Japan's Social Security and Tax Number System (referred to as the “My Number” system), introduced in 2016, in an appropriate manner. All Group companies in Japan formulated My Number Handling Rules, My Number Regulations, and a detailed handling procedure manual. In particular, our measures regarding physical and technological security are more stringent than those mandated by law, and we continue to collaborate with the IT Division on this matter. Moreover, Canon, Inc. started taking steps to respond to the EU General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, implemented in May 2018, approximately one year in advance of the implementation, establishing systems as well as formulating and implementing rules.

Post-Disaster Business Continuity Plan

Responding to the Risk of Damage to Infrastructure

Canon believes that establishing a system to ensure that business operations can continue after a natural disaster or emergency represents one of the most important social responsibilities of any company. Based on this recognition, we have formulated a business continuity plan (BCP)*1 and Canon Group Disaster Preparedness Guidelines, and are working hard on advancing business continuity measures for disasters, including upgrading buildings constructed according to old aseismic design standards, concluding disaster agreements with local communities, and developing systems for collecting information and reporting.

  • *1 Business Continuity Plan (BCP): an action plan that includes measures to provide for the continuation of a minimal level of business in the event of disaster, accident, or other such event, and to restore operations promptly.

Due to the critical importance of our Shimomaruko headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, as the home base for all Group operations, we have rebuilt all on-site buildings, established a crisis control center, installed backup generators, stockpiled fuel, equipment, and supplies, and established a multiplex communication system. Moreover, we set up a Disaster Recovery Center*2 to back up information systems to ensure that the core IT system will operate securely in the event of a disaster.

  • *2 Disaster Recovery Center: a facility prepared for data backup in the event of a system breakdown due to a disaster.

We have updated all Group company facilities in Japan, setting up emergency communications equipment and support structures, and inculcated a sense of readiness in our employees through practical disaster-preparedness training. We also have systems that use data from Canon surveillance cameras installed at each Group site so that any damage caused by natural disasters or other emergencies can be evaluated swiftly. Furthermore, we have prepared a leader's manual in order to safeguard human life immediately following a natural disaster or fire, prevent secondary disasters, and protect company assets. Using this manual as a model, Group companies are also creating localized manuals based on the unique risks in the areas where they operate to facilitate the smooth restoration of services in the event of a disaster. Last year, 39 operational sites conducted emergency drills based on these manuals.

Proper Payment of Taxes

Canon believes that, as a multinational corporation with operations spanning the globe, the proper payment of taxes in the countries and regions where it operates is one of its most fundamental and important social responsibilities. Accordingly, Canon abides by the following principles on tax matters. In 2018, Canon did not receive any negative tax-related judgments or assessments, nor was it subject to any major punitive measures, such as fines.

  1. Pay taxes properly in accordance with tax-related laws and ordinances.
  2. Ensure that tax accounting and other related processes are carried out unfailingly, according to law.
  3. Develop tax-related governance systems and work to raise awareness about tax compliance.
  4. Adhere to common international rules on international taxation (guidelines set by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the United Nations), and ensure that actions are in compliance with the tax laws of each country.

Corporate Income Taxes

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Taxes on income before income taxes (hundred million yen) 1,180 1,161 827 980 962
Effective tax rate on income before income taxes (%) 30.8 33.4 33.8 27.7 26.5