Japan’s investor revolution is delayed, not dead

November 20, 2015

Shareholders are souring on the hope that Japan Inc. can become better-run and more profitable. That’s too gloomy. Last year’s returns on equity were humdrum and there have been big disappointments. But real change is underway and the pressure for more is huge.

Record fine is least of Toshiba’s problems

November 18, 2015

The scandal-hit Japanese group faces a record regulatory fine, a newspaper says. A $60 mln levy would be embarrassing but easy to bear. That leaves Toshiba free to face its real challenges: regaining investor confidence and restructuring laggard businesses as fast as possible.

Yuan’s new global status matters most inside China

November 16, 2015

The renminbi is on the verge of joining the SDR, the International Monetary Fund’s reserve currency club. The symbolic step won’t send foreign investors rushing into yuan assets. But the move endorses China’s recent financial reforms, and makes them harder to reverse.

Megabanks set example to Japan Inc. on share sales

November 16, 2015

Japan’s three top lenders plan to slash their huge holdings in client companies. That’s good: the shift should boost the banks’ returns, shield them from market swings, and give more power to regular investors. Even better if smaller banks and non-financial outfits follow suit.

Japan index: Abenomics falls in autumn

November 11, 2015

Breakingviews’ gauge of Japan’s economic revival dipped in September as the current account surplus shrank while spending, consumer prices and share prices fell. Bank lending, manufacturing production and wages edged up slightly, but not enough to prevent an autumn slowdown.

Honda snub bursts Takata’s financial force field

November 5, 2015

The Japanese carmaker will stop using air bag inflators made by its troubled supplier. The public rebuke from its biggest customer raises doubts about the future of Takata’s principal business. It also undermines investors’ assumption that the group is too important to fail.

Japan Post’s red-letter day delivers a value gap

November 4, 2015

Shares in the Japanese postal operator and its finance arms soared on their stock-market debuts. Low valuations, high yields and familiarity helped the $12 bln triple IPO to fly. Yet the share moves also reveal just how lukewarm investors are about the core postal business.

BOJ opts to remain conventionally unconventional

October 30, 2015

Japan’s central bank decided not to add to its already huge bond-buying scheme. The bet is that prices will keep rising once the impact of cheaper oil fades. But with its 2 pct inflation target still distant, a nasty slowdown could yet force the BOJ to take more extreme measures.

Yield and brand fuel Japan Post IPO successes

October 20, 2015

The $12 bln deal is going well, with banking and insurance arms pricing at the top of their ranges. That says more about big dividends, low valuations and name recognition than Japan Post’s actual prospects – or the chances of a new era of widespread domestic equity ownership.

Suntory and Tsingtao give cold comfort to MegaBeer

October 16, 2015

The Japanese and Chinese beverage groups are ending a JV selling suds in the People’s Republic. Since teaming up in 2012, industry volumes have started to shrink for the first time. There’s more than just AB InBev and SABMiller to worry about in the world’s biggest beer market.