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Oct 17, 2013

Japan banking industry says to tighten anti-mob measures

TOKYO, Oct 17 (Reuters) – Japan’s banking industry body said
it plans to share its data on organised crime syndicates with
consumer credit agencies and other financial companies as part
of new measures to combat illicit transactions.

Efforts by the country’s financial industry to shun
organised crime syndicates have come under fresh scrutiny after
Japan’s banking regulator reprimanded Mizuho Financial Group
late last month over loans it made to mob members.

Oct 10, 2013

Tokyo local lenders agree to merge, could prompt consolidation

TOKYO, Oct 10 (Reuters) – Two Tokyo-based local lenders on
Thursday confirmed plans to merge in a move that could prompt a
long-awaited but slow-moving banking industry consolidation in a
country beset with weak loan demand.

Tokyo Tomin Bank Ltd and Yachiyo Bank Ltd
said they have agreed to merge in October next year by setting
up a holding company. Shareholders in both banks will receive
shares in the company in exchange for their stake in the two at
a ratio to be determined later, the banks said.

Oct 8, 2013

Mizuho’s top management knew of organized crime loans

TOKYO (Reuters) – Officials at Mizuho Financial Group (8411.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Japan’s second-biggest bank, admitted top management knew at least three years ago about loans to criminal groups, highlighting the entrenched position of organized crime in the Japanese business world.

Bowing deeply for the cameras in the second such ritual of contrition in less than a week, top Mizuho officials reversed their previous position that knowledge of the loans had extended only to compliance officers.

Sep 13, 2013

KKR mulls teaming with Japan state fund on Panasonic unit stake: media

TOKYO (Reuters) – KKR & Co LP is considering teaming up with a state-backed Japanese investment fund to secure a stake in Panasonic Corp’s healthcare business, media reported, although people familiar with the matter said the U.S. firm has not approached the fund yet.

A purchase, which could be worth $1.5 billion, would mark the private-equity firm’s largest investment in a Japanese company. Last year KKR sought a controlling stake in chipmaker Renesas Electronics Corp but lost out to a group led by the state-backed Innovation Network Corp of Japan.

Sep 5, 2013

Japan’s shrinking shinkin: Small banks left behind by Abenomics

WAKKANAI, Japan (Reuters) – First the commercial fisheries began shutting down in this hardscrabble corner of Japan’s northern coast. Then tourism fizzled.

Now, the small-town bank that serves Wakkanai, at the tip of Hokkaido, is grappling with a problem common throughout Japan’s financial system: to survive years of deflation it has had to stray far from its core mission of making loans, and the easy investment income it has come to rely on is looking shaky.

Jul 31, 2013

Abenomics lifts Japan megabanks’ profits but loans still weak

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s biggest banks got a pop in quarterly profits from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic-revival policies, but the gains reflected surging stock prices while loan growth remained limp, further evidence that “Abenomics” has not yet stoked lasting economic activity.

The sharply improved April-June results at the three megabanks – Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (8306.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Mizuho Financial Group Inc (8411.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc (8316.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) – showed that the effect of the massive monetary easing and hefty government spending over recent months remains largely confined to financial markets.

Jul 31, 2013

MUFG, Mizuho Q1 profits buoyed by Abenomics-led stock rally

TOKYO, July 31 (Reuters) – Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
Inc, Japan’s top lender by assets, and No. 2 Mizuho
Financial Group Inc said their quarterly net profits
had risen by more than a third, driven by a rally in Japanese
stocks that pushed up the value of their equity portfolios.

MUFG and Mizuho join third-ranked Sumitomo Mitsui Financial
Group Inc in reporting higher profits for April-June,
after expectations for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic
policies propelled Tokyo stocks to an over five-year high in
May.

Jul 28, 2013

Japan insurer Tokio Marine eyes more acquisitions in U.S., Mexico

TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokio Marine Holdings Inc (8766.T: Quote, Profile, Research) is seeking acquisitions in the United States and Mexico to spread out its risk, the CEO of Japan’s largest property-casualty insurer by market value said, as rivals go after growth closer to home in Southeast Asia.

With sizable business in Britain and North America, Tokio Marine is currently the most geographically diverse Japanese insurer. CEO and President Tsuyoshi Nagano told Reuters Tokio Marine was keen to further expand abroad to diversify its risk, rather than to offset weak growth prospects at home.

Jul 26, 2013

Japan steps up SE Asia M&A as Meiji inks $700 mln Thai Life deal

TOKYO/HONG KONG, July 26 (Reuters) – Meiji Yasuda Life
Insurance Co has agreed to pay about $700 million to buy a 15
percent stake Thai Life Insurance Co, underscoring the rising
appetite of Japanese companies for deals in the rapidly
expanding economies of Southeast.

Meiji Yasuda’s purchase will make it the fourth financial
services acquisition by a Japanese firm in Southeast Asia this
year, bringing the year-to-date total value of Japanese M&A
deals in the region to about $6.6 billion.

Jul 18, 2013

Rush to beat tax means Japan home-buying boom may be temporary

TOKYO (Reuters) – “Abenomics” has convinced Ayako Onishi and her husband that now is the time to buy their first home.

The couple, who had their first child last year and are looking to move into Tokyo from the suburbs, are part of a rapidly growing number of people looking to buy houses and apartments in the wake of aggressive economic policies pushed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is set to cement his hold on power with a big upper house election victory this weekend.