During the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, many companies have been conducting so-called "virtual annual general meetings." However, as is often the case, this is simply another way of saying "online" meeting, to distinguish it from conventional meetings where people meet in person.

But one organization in Japan has taken things one step further and in so doing, offered a hint at how corporate action could take place in the metaverse.

On October 24th, 2021, the Virtual Rights Specified Nonprofit Corporation, hereinafter abbreviated as "NPO Virtual Rights," (registered in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, and chaired by 國武悠人 Yūto Kunitake) held the world's first full VR general meeting, in which all members participated as avatars and conducted official proceedings entirely in VR.

Signature with a hanko seal in VR


In recent years, due to the rapid spread of VR devices and growing media coverage of the metaverse, more corporations are focusing on its possibilities. With this development in mind, NPO Virtual Rights held the world's first full VR company meeting in NeosVR, a metaverse platform, with the aim of promoting the use of the metaverse beyond theoretical applications, and reported its financial statements.

General Meeting held in VR

In the General Meeting convocation notice, it was stated that the meeting would be held within NeosVR. During the meeting, voting was conducted by the members in attendance, raising their avatar hands, and the minutes were formally signed with a hanko seal. As for the validity of this "VR signature," which is an act of remote electronic signature, the NPO team in the Prefectural Resident Life & Culture Division at the Chiba Prefectural Government's Environment and Life Department, which has jurisdiction over the matter, responded that "there is no problem as long it can be assumed that the participants are representing themselves."

Members voting during the General Meeting by raising their hands

The items for discussion at the General Meeting were approved unanimously.

A new form of corporate management

Working in a gender- and age-neutral way

At NPO Virtual Rights' meetings, board members are rarely conscious of other members' gender or age. Although some information about the board members is shared to the extent legally required, the system basically allows people to work under whatever name they want to be called. They do not ask for gender or photo information when hiring volunteers. In this day and age when there are growing calls for equal opportunities for SOGI people, the ability to work in the appearance of one's choosing is one of the advantages of avatar work.

Daily work is conducted in the metaverse

By using NeosVR and other metaverse platforms, NPO Virtual Rights strives to promote smooth communication in meetings and other events.

Promoting citizen participation in non-profit organizations

NPOs are required to be open to society, but there are issues discouraging this process. For example, some of the issues often mentioned are:

  • You can only become a member if you use your real name
  • Registering to become a member can be difficult
  • The organization is closed
  • The officers and members are advanced in age

NPO Virtual Rights has achieved the participation of a large number of citizens by setting up a system in which they can become "VR members" who can participate anonymously by simply entering the chat community.

Online education and courses that people can easily participate in

In addition, by using the metaverse, NPO Virtual Rights is creating an environment that allows for online group discussions and other forms of social interaction among participants, even during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A networking event in VR

About NPO Virtual Rights

Mainly aiming to protect the rights of VR culture users and creators and disseminate VR culture, NPO Virtual Rights holds VR culture conferences and study groups with legislators and experts, organizes culture dissemination events, conducts research projects, and makes policy proposals to government agencies and Diet members. In March 2021, NPO Virtual Rights was certified and established as the first NPO in Japan to hold its inaugural meeting in a virtual space. As of November 2021, it has nearly 500 members. In August 2021, they received a certificate of appreciation from the Tokyo Branch of the Japanese Red Cross Society.

For more information, visit the official website of NPO Virtual Rights.

By - Ben K.