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It is imperative to conduct business in compliance with laws and regulations in the jurisdictions where we operate, and maintain high ethical standards in order to promote sound corporate activities. Recognizing this, NTT establisheds the NTT Group Corporate Ethics Policy.
The Policy, which applies to all officers and employees of the NTT Group, lays out the basic principles of corporate ethics and provides specific guidelines for ethical behavior. The Policy is intended to remind everyone of their duty as members of a group that bears significant responsibility to society in terms of preventing dishonesty, misconduct, and the disclosure of corporate secrets, as well as refraining from exchanging excessive favors with customers and suppliers, and ensuring that they conduct themselves according to the highest ethical standards in both private and public activities.
NTT Group Corporate Ethics Policy
NTT has a Corporate Ethics Committee with a senior executive vice president as chair. The committee meets twice a year with the aim of thoroughly promoting the NTT Group's corporate ethics and maintaining discipline. It reports to the Board of Directors twice a year, particularly concerning the status of reports made to the Corporate Ethics Help Line, and the Board of Directors discusses reported matters when necessary.
The NTT Group has Corporate Ethics Committees and corporate ethics officers at Group companies. We foster a corporate climate of observing laws and corporate ethics, investigate wrongful acts and scandals based on our Corporate Ethics Help Line operational rules, hold regular meetings for the compliance officers of Group companies, and work across the Group to promote compliance.
The NTT Group Corporate Ethics Policy mandates compliance with all laws and regulations, social standards, and internal company rules whether in Japan or overseas. With regard to the prevention of bribery, we have an AntiｰBribery Handbook containing important matters to be understood and complied with by our employees. The contents of this handbook are made known to all employees in Japan and overseas through emails and other means.
In addition, NTT, NTT East and NTT West stipulate that taking bribes is forbidden under the Act on Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, etc. (hereafter "the NTT ACT") and that breaches are punishable by law. Following the Act on Prevention of Unjust Acts by Organized Crime Groups, contributions and other types of support are only given to charitable organizations deemed suitable by the NTT Group. We have a zero tolerance approach to corruption.
The NTT Group has adhered to the Anti-Monopoly Act to ensure its business activities align with a fair and competitive business environment. These initiatives have been effective, as evidenced by the fact that continuing from the previous fiscal year, we were not fined for violation of anti-monopoly regulations in fiscal 2019.
At NTT, top management demonstrates that compliance requires the NTT Group to comply with laws and conduct business with everyone having strong ethics. Also, the presidents of each NTT Group company have declared their commitment to identify risks related to illegal or illicit activities and never tolerate any form of impropriety. To ensure the effectiveness of the NTT Group Corporate Ethics Policy, we offer training sessions on corporate ethics to employees and, through a website for employees, we explain the declaration in detail and give examples of corporate ethics issues. Employees are reminded of the importance of ethics in June and December each year in an effort to raise their level of understanding. Furthermore, NTT conducts annual surveys of employees to measure their awareness, and the results are then used for awareness enhancement initiatives.
Corporate ethics training is conducted as part of continuous educational activities for all officers and employees. This training is tailored to meet the specific compliance and corruption risks of each company throughout the NTT Group. Furthermore, training for officers is also conducted every year.
As a tool to help employees prevent corruption, we created the new AntiｰBribery Handbook in fiscal 2014, which is made known to all employees at NTT Group companies inside and outside of Japan through emails and other means. Along with a message from the president, the AntiｰBribery Handbook provides examples regarding the basics of bribery and facilitation payments to instill correct knowledge and understanding in all employees.
The NTT Group created a Competition Law Handbook in fiscal 2019 as a tool for ensuring compliance with competition law among employees and it has been made known to all employees at NTT Group companies inside and outside of Japan. The handbook contains the basics regarding compliance with competition law within a Q&A format, as well as specific examples that might be found within the Company's business activities, in order to instill correct knowledge and understanding of competition law compliance in employees.
Competition Law Handbook
NTT conducts an annual survey that includes NTT Group companies in order to ascertain the extent to which employees are aware of compliance. At each NTT Group company, monitoring is performed under four different functions, comprising the departments in charge of business operations, compliance and internal auditing, as well as the Audit and Supervisory Board members, to ensure neutral and multifaceted checks are being performed.
NTT checks the status of compliance audit implementation at NTT Group companies with an internal auditing department and directly confirms the status of compliance initiatives inside NTT and at NTT Group companies without an internal auditing department.
To prevent illegal conduct or a scandal, each Group company has set up an internal consulting center to handle reports of improper activities. In addition, NTT has established the Corporate Ethics Help Line as an external contact point for NTT Group companies and outsources its operation to a law firm. The help line also handles consultations and reports related to human rights issues.
The NTT Group Corporate Ethics Policy clearly states that people who file reports with these help lines will be protected from any disadvantage arising from the fact that they filed a report. The content of the consultations and reports are investigated and handled by the staff member in charge, and a report is submitted to the Corporate Ethics Committee of each Group company. All reports are collected at least once a year by NTT, where the response status is ascertained and reported to the Board of Directors.
In addition, since the contact point is independent from management, there is an independent reporting route to Audit & Supervisory Board members. Reports made through our Corporate Ethics Help Line (external contact point) are in principle sent directly to Audit & Supervisory Board members at the same time; reporting only to Audit & Supervisory Board members is also possible.
The Whistleblowing Mechanism Guidelines, revised in December 2016 by the Consumer Affairs Agency, recommend that neutral and fair third-party assessments be carried out. We had such an assessment carried out in May 2017 and received the comment that overall, a whistleblowing mechanism is in place and is being administered appropriately.
A compliance violation or breach of the NTT Group Corporate Ethics Policy is dealt with using the disciplinary measures taken in accordance with the disciplinary code established at each Group company. This includes pay cuts and work suspension, and may also be reflected in assessments (evaluations) and personnel transfers.