Bureau Chief, Helsinki
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Sep 29, 2014

Japan’s Skylark IPO pricing weak but Recruit more upbeat

TOKYO, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Japanese restaurant operator
Skylark Co Ltd priced its IPO at the bottom of its
marketing range but staffing firm Recruit Holdings Co Ltd
bumped up its pricing plans, in a sign that investors
have become more selective about Tokyo offerings.

Tokyo has seen a string of weak IPO performances this year
after last year’s euphoria over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s
growth policies gave way to more measured views.

Sep 29, 2014

Costs, politics erode chances for a Tokyo casino by 2020

TOKYO, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Plans to open Japan’s first
casino in Tokyo before the 2020 Olympics are becoming
increasingly unlikely, with developers facing skyrocketing
building costs and a city government that no longer considers
casino development an economic priority.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called legalising casino
gambling a pillar of his plan to revive economic growth. Casino
operators including Las Vegas Sands, Genting Singapore
, MGM Resorts and Melco Crown Entertainment
have all been positioning themselves as potential
investors in what analysts say is one of the world’s biggest
untapped markets for this sort of gaming.

Sep 10, 2014

Japan staffing firm Recruit plans IPO worth $1.8 bln

TOKYO, Sept 10 (Reuters) – Japan’s largest recruitment
company Recruit Holdings said it is planning an
initial public offering worth 193 billion yen ($1.8 billion),
which will test investor appetite for big Tokyo listings after
some weak debuts this year.

The offering will help Recruit, which aims to be the world’s
biggest human resources firm by 2020, pay for future
acquisitions. Keen to offset a shrinking market in Japan, the
company has snapped up a slew of foreign companies in recent
years, including online job search site Indeed.com.

Sep 4, 2014

Japan minister for GPIF reform a policy wonk with rebellious streak

TOKYO, Sept 4 (Reuters) – Japan’s new welfare minister
tasked with reforming the country’s $1.2 trillion pension fund
is a Harvard-educated former central banker with a sharp sense
of the reforms that markets want to see and a willingness to
buck the system.

Yasuhisa Shiozaki, 63, has a reputation as a policy wonk
with a strong resume, but critics say he has sometimes lacked
the finesse to navigate ruling party politics.

Aug 28, 2014

Japan’s brokerages seize opportunity as death tax set to rise

TOKYO, Aug 29 (Reuters) – As Japanese families gathered
earlier this month for the traditional “Obon” festival honouring
ancestors, some elderly parents broached an awkward but
increasingly critical topic: planning for inheritance.

Japan’s government will increase the inheritance tax rate in
January, while tax relief measures on gifting will be expanded,
in moves aimed at encouraging wealthy, older Japanese to either
spend or pass on their savings before they die.

Aug 1, 2014

Nomura doubles profit target, aims to grow client assets by 2020

TOKYO, Aug 1 (Reuters) – Nomura Holdings Inc
doubled its profit target on Friday, saying it aims to take
advantage of Japan’s emergence from years of deflation and
sluggish economic growth to attract more customer funds.

Japan’s biggest brokerage and investment banking group said
it is targeting earnings per share (EPS) of 100 yen (97 US
cents) by Tokyo Olympics year 2020.

Jul 30, 2014

As Abenomics halo slips, Tokyo IPO investors press for value

TOKYO, July 31 (Reuters) – At the New York Stock Exchange
last September, buoyed by high hopes for Japan’s economic
revival, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged Wall Street to “Buy my
Abenomics!” Amid sagging growth and Tokyo listing flops,
investors are now looking for a discount.

The Tokyo bourse’s Nikkei benchmark is down 4 percent this
year as euphoria over ‘Abenomics’ – Abe’s radical reflationary
policies – has given way to more cautious views of Japan Inc’s
recovery. Investors in initial public offerings have little
appetite for frothy valuations with the world’s third-biggest
economy likely having shrunk in the second quarter after a sales
tax hike, and industrial output on the wane.

Jul 29, 2014

Nomura profit falls for 2nd straight quarter after stock rally cools

TOKYO, July 29 (Reuters) – Nomura Holdings Inc
reported a second straight quarter of profit decline as
investors turned cautious on Japan’s economic recovery prospects
and held back on stock trading, bringing brokerage commissions
far below last year’s surge.

Japan’s biggest investment banking and brokerage group
enjoyed a spike in fees when the government of Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe spurred trading by investors optimistic toward
pro-growth policies.

Jul 17, 2014

Nissan’s Ghosn wary of Japan PM Abe target of 30 percent women in top jobs

TOKYO (Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co (7201.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn raised doubts over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s call to appoint women to 30 percent of top jobs by 2020, saying rushing to meet such a target could set the firm and its staff up for failure.

Abe issued his call as part of a strategy to encourage more women to work in the world’s third-biggest economy, replenishing Japan’s dwindling workforce in a rapidly ageing population. Yet with women now filling just 1 percent of corporate executive committee jobs, the target is ambitious.

Jul 3, 2014

Mizuho management is too far from front line -new chairwoman

TOKYO, July 3 (Reuters) – Mizuho Financial Group Inc’s
new board chairwoman, who was appointed to improve
governance after a mob loan scandal, said top management had
become too distant from the front line.

The Japanese bank was reprimanded in September for failing
to act two years after learning that a subsidiary had extended
loans to “anti-social forces” – a euphemism for organised crime.