The current functions of both financial and management accounting in Japan are analysed. The critical views of the functions of accounting that have been presented by Japanese researchers since the 1950s are traced. In these views, the contemporary functions of accounting are to accumulate capital through manipulation in financial disclosure in the relation of capital ownership, and to pursue monopolist profits by intensifying labour process and by reducing manufacturing costs in the relation of production. The current use of accounting policy changes by Japanese corporations is analysed in respect of the first of these relations, and just‐in‐time production systems and other methods of reducing manufacturing costs are examined in respect of the second relation with particular attention directed to the relationship between productive and accounting labour. Based on these considerations, some new perspectives are offered on the functions of accounting not only in the Japanese capitalist context, but in the context of capitalism generally.
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