The Mitsubishi Group is a group of autonomous Japanese multinational companies in a variety of industries. Its total revenue is about 1.4% of Japan's GDP.
It is historically descended from the Mitsubishi zaibatsu, a unified company which existed from 1870, founded by Yataro Iwasaki, to 1947 and was disbanded during the occupation of Japan following World War II. The former constituents of the company continue to share the Mitsubishi brand, trademark, and legacy. Although the group companies participate in limited business cooperation, most famously through monthly "Friday Conference" executive meetings, they are formally independent and are not under common control. The three main companies in the group are The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (the largest bank in Japan), Mitsubishi Corporation (a general trading company) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (a diversified manufacturing company).
The Mitsubishi Group is made up of about 40 individual companies with no controlling parent company. Each of the Mitsubishi companies owns substantial (but usually not controlling) portions of the shares of the others.
Twenty-nine of the group companies participate in the Friday Conference, a luncheon meeting of their most senior executives held on the second Friday of each month. The group began its tradition of monthly executive meetings in 1952, and over time the meetings became a venue for coordinating policy between the group companies. However, by the 1990s, this practice was criticized (particularly by non-Japanese investors) as a possible violation of antitrust law. Since 1993, the Friday Conference has officially been held as a social function, and not for the purpose of discussing or coordinating business strategy. Despite this, the Friday Conference has been a venue for informal cooperation and coordination between the group companies, most notably in bailing out Mitsubishi Motors during the mid 2000s.
In addition to the Friday Conference, the group companies' heads of general affairs hold a meeting on the third Monday of each month, and the group companies' legal and IP departments hold a trademark policy coordination meeting on the first Friday of each month.
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