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Aug 25, 2015

Nippon Life in talks to buy Mitsui Life in Japan insurance shakeup-sources

TOKYO, Aug 26 (Reuters) – Nippon Life Insurance Co
is in talks to buy Mitsui Life Insurance Co, people
familiar with the matter said early on Wednesday, in what would
be the first major realignment in Japan’s life insurance market
in 11 years.

A deal would push Nippon Life, Japan’s No. 2 insurer by
revenues, ahead of industry leader Dai-Ichi Life Insurance Co as
competition heats up with the Nov. 4 listing of Japan Post
Insurance Co as part of the sale of government-owned Japan Post
Holdings Co. (IPO-JAPP.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz)

Aug 18, 2015

Toshiba proposes outsider-heavy board; interim CEO to stay

TOKYO (Reuters) – Toshiba Corp (6502.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) proposed a new slate of outsiders to take a majority of seats on its board of directors, aiming to bolster governance of the laptops-to-nuclear conglomerate following a $1.2 billion accounting scandal.

A new board lineup proposed on Tuesday also kept interim President Masashi Muromachi in his role on a more permanent basis, confirming media reports, maintaining stability but possibly disappointing some investors who hoped for a new leader.

Aug 18, 2015

Japan’s Kirin thwarted in attempt to raise beer prices by weak sentiment: CEO

TOKYO, Aug 18 (Reuters) – Kirin Holdings is unable
to raise prices on beer and soft drinks without a risk of
harming sales, the CEO of Japan’s second-biggest drinks maker
said, underscoring the weak consumer sentiment that led to a
quarterly contraction in Asia’s second-largest economy.

“Consumer spending remains weak. I think we are still in
deflation,” Yoshinori Isozaki, Kirin’s president and chief
executive, told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

Aug 11, 2015

Japan’s Sumitomo Life to buy U.S. insurer Symetra for $3.8 billion

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Sumitomo Life has agreed to buy U.S insurer Symetra Financial Corp (SYA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for about $3.8 billion, the latest multi-billion deal in the world’s largest insurance market by acquisitive Japanese companies.

Japan’s life insurance market, the world’s second-largest, has been relatively profitable and stable but its weak growth prospects amid a rapidly ageing population have prompted major domestically focused players to look overseas.

Aug 7, 2015

JGBs now less than half of Japan Post Bank’s $1.7 trln portfolio

TOKYO, Aug 7 (Reuters) – Japan Post Holdings Co (IPO-JAPP.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz)
said on Friday its banking unit reduced its holdings of Japanese
government bonds (JGBs) to just under half of its $1.7 trillion
portfolio in the quarter that ended June as it seeks more
profitable investments.

JGBs accounted for 49.2 percent – or 101.6 trillion yen
($814.2 billion) – of Japan Post Bank’s portfolio, down from
51.8 percent at end-March, Japan Post said in its quarterly
earnings statement.

Aug 6, 2015

MUFG is first foreign bank to make Myanmar local currency loan -source

TOKYO, Aug 7 (Reuters) – Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group’s
core banking unit has become the first foreign lender
in Myanmar to extend a local currency loan, a person with
knowledge of the matter said, a sign that strong loan demand in
the fast-growing economy is likely to be better met.

Crippled by decades of mismanagement under military regimes
and cut off from much of the world due to Western sanctions,
Myanmar’s domestic banking sector remains ill-equipped to
provide services to local citizens, let alone global companies.

Jul 31, 2015

Top Japan banks beat profit estimates on stock market gains, overseas lending

TOKYO, July 31 (Reuters) – Japan’s top banks posted on
Friday higher first-quarter profits that exceeded expectations
as strong domestic equity markets boosted their brokerage
businesses and drove gains from stock holdings.

Their overseas lending businesses also contributed to
profit growth, but bank executives are saying they see signs of
a slowdown in loan demand in Asia as the region has started to
feel the pain of China’s slowing economy.

Jul 24, 2015

Japan’s Meiji Yasuda to buy U.S. insurer StanCorp for $5 bln

TOKYO, July 24 (Reuters) – Japan’s Meiji Yasuda Life
Insurance Co said on Friday it has agreed to buy
U.S.-based StanCorp Financial Group Inc for $5 billion,
the latest multi-billion deal by acquisitive Japanese insurers.

More purchases are likely as other big Japanese life
insurers have said they are also looking to expand in the
world’s largest market and elsewhere, in an effort to grow
outside their home market where the population is shrinking.

Jun 30, 2015

GE to sell European private equity financing unit to SMBC

TOKYO (Reuters) – General Electric Co (GE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it would sell its European private equity financing business to a unit of Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp (SMBC) for about $2.2 billion as the U.S. conglomerate sheds financial assets amid a restructuring.

The portfolio represents about $2.2 billion of total invested capital, GE said on Tuesday.

Jun 26, 2015

Government postpones Japan Post board appointment of ex-Toshiba exec

TOKYO, June 26 (Reuters) – Japan Post Holdings Co Ltd
(IPO-JAPP.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Friday said the government has postponed the
appointment to its board of a former Toshiba Corp
executive, pending the outcome of a probe into accounting
practices at the electronics maker.

Fumio Muraoka, a former senior executive vice president of
Toshiba, was to be appointed an outside director at state-owned
Japan Post on Friday, but the communications ministry on its
website said it would withhold its approval for the time being.