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Mar 27, 2012

Japan struggles to find new Tepco chief to revive firm

TOKYO, March 27 (Reuters) – Tokyo Electric Power Co
, the operator of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant, is
struggling to find someone to head the troubled firm, sources
said, threatening to delay until April the submission of a
turnaround plan in which it will ask for 1 trillion yen ($12
billion) in public money.

The delay in selecting a new chief reflects huge hurdles in
restoring the utility’s profitability, including doubts over
when and whether it can restart its halted nuclear reactors and
uncertainty over the future of Japan’s atomic energy policy.

Mar 23, 2012

Japan’s AIJ lost $1.3 bln in bad options bets-regulator

TOKYO, March 23 (Reuters) – Tokyo-based AIJ Investment
Advisors lost $1.3 billion in bad bets on equity and bond
derivatives, losing the bulk of the pension funds it was
managing, Japan’s financial regulator said on Friday after
stripping the firm of its registration.

The Financial Services Agency (FSA) said AIJ, whose offices
were earlier raided by the Securities and Exchange Surveillance
Commission (SESC), was unable to account for most of the $2.4
billion assets under its management and had falsified its report
to investors to cover up its losses in one of the biggest
scandals of its kind in Japan.

Mar 8, 2012

Japan lenders give wary backing to Tepco

TOKYO, March 8 (Reuters) – Major creditors of Tokyo
Electric Power Co (Tepco) are ready to lend the
loss-making utility 1 trillion yen ($12.4 billion) if they
approve its turnaround plan, bank sources said on Thursday.

On capital injection into the utility — another major issue
in Tepco’s turnaround process — trade minister Yukio Edano said
the government intends to pick its top management following the
injection of taxpayers’ money, indicating he is seeking a
majority of voting rights.

Mar 8, 2012

Japan lenders ready to back Fukushima operator Tepco, but wary

TOKYO, March 8 (Reuters) – Major creditors of Tokyo
Electric Power Co are ready to lend the loss-making
utility 1 trillion yen ($12.4 billion), but won’t commit the
money until they see if the firm’s turnaround plan meets some
key conditions, bank sources said on Thursday.

The lenders are concerned if two conditions — raising power
tariffs and the restart of the utility’s nuclear power plants –
can be met in the face of public and political opposition
following the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster a year ago.

Feb 24, 2012

Japan shuts fund manager on fears client losses hidden

TOKYO, Feb 24 (Reuters) – Japan’s financial regulator
on Friday temporarily shut a manager of corporate pensions on
suspicion it may have hidden losses in the $2.6 billion it
manages mainly on behalf of smaller firms, and flagged an
industry probe.

The Financial Services Agency said it froze the assets of
Tokyo-based AIJ Investment Advisors and ordered a halt to its
operations for a month because AIJ was unable to properly report
the status of its portfolio.

Feb 21, 2012

Mazda to raise $2 billion in share issue, loans: sources

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Mazda Motor Corp (7261.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) plans to raise $2.1 billion to shore up its finances and invest in a new plant in Mexico, financial sources said on Tuesday — a bigger-than-expected fund raising that sent its shares tumbling 13 percent.

The loss-making automaker aims to raise 100 billion yen ($1.3 billion) through a public share offering and 70 billion yen through subordinated loans from banks, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Feb 19, 2012

Japan’s Mizuho to cooperate with StanBank-sources

JOHANNESBURG/TOKYO, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Japan’s Mizuho
Financial Group will sign an agreement to cooperate
with South Africa’s Standard Bank in corporate lending
as early as this week, according to two people familiar with the
matter.

The non-exclusive agreement will focus on bringing more of
Mizuho’s Japanese clients to Africa and Standard Bank’s clients
to Japan, said one of the people, both of whom declined to be
identified because the information is not public.

Feb 16, 2012

Japan bank lobby head warns future JGB risks

TOKYO, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Japan could face its own
sovereign debt problems within a decade unless it speeds up
efforts to improve its fiscal health, the head of its banking
lobby said on Thursday.

Factors supporting the nation’s debt finance could become a
trigger of problems for Japanese government bonds, said
Katsunori Nagayasu, chairman of the Japanese Bankers
Association.

Feb 16, 2012

Japan assets may impede ING’s Asia sale

HONG KONG/TOKYO, Feb 16 (Reuters) – ING’s Japan unit
is proving to be a stumbling block in the auction of its Asia
insurance business that is expected to fetch more than
6 billion euros, with sources saying the Dutch group may have no
choice but to retain the Japan unit for now.

Japan is one of ING’s two biggest Asian operations,
so what becomes of it in the event of a sale is important.
The concern has to do with the 18 billion euros worth of
high-guarantee variable annuity policies the Japan operation has
on the books.

Feb 15, 2012

SMFG: few assets being offered at attractive prices

TOKYO (Reuters) – Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (8316.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it has been fielding lots of asset offers, about $100 billion worth since early last year, but attractive deals are few and far between as European banks were not desperate enough to embark on a fire sale.

SMFG and other Japanese banks are well positioned to snap up assets being shed by European players as they have little exposure to the region’s sovereign debt woes and access to cheaper funding.