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Japan fights back with 60-point master plan
Japan has launched its biggest financial shake-up in a decade to regain lost business from London and meet the fast-rising challenge of Shanghai.

A sweeping package of 60 measures will give special tax exemptions to hedge funds, and allow companies to make simplified disclosures in English rather than Japanese.

It will tear down the archaic barrier between banking and broking, which is widely blamed for relegating Japan to backwater status, without the system of universal banking now prevalent in the US and Europe.

Japan's Financial Services Authority said the "entire government" would be harnessed to push through the master plan, aimed at turning Tokyo into the financial hub of Asia and broadening the country's economic base away from manufacturing. Officials have openly stated that the model is London. They plan their own "Canary Wharf" of shimmering towers in an enclave of Tokyo.

Japan remains the world's biggest creditor nation with some $2.5 trillion (£1.3 trillion) in net foreign assets and a massive $19 trillion pool of domestic savings and household assets, the world's biggest stash of private wealth. Yet it has almost completely lost its footing as a major money centre.

With still a handful aspires for a "major money center", the global Ponzi opera might go on for another year. Check out the Dutch:

Dutch fund manager Corne van Zeijl may be out of a job within a decade because there won't be enough local companies in which to invest.

[More] than half of Dutch citizens are concerned about the acquisitions, the news service ANP reported last month, citing a poll. To fight back, firms including insurers ING Groep NV and Aegon NV formed the Holland Financial Centre to lobby for changes that will strengthen the financial-services industry.

[The] Dutch were the second-biggest foreign investors in the U.S. at the end of the 1990s, following takeovers such as Aegon NV's purchase of insurer Transamerica Corp. In 2006, they were fourth, according to U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates.

[Dutch] banks and pension funds started the Holland Financial Centre to bolster the financial-services industry, which accounts for about 13 percent of the nation's economy. The group wants to advertise abroad to establish the Netherlands as a center for pension administration.

Will there be enough companies in the world for every investor?! (A Dutch strategy speech, in English despite the title, is available here.) Recently I also read a Russian financial newspaper, where articles stressing financial relevance (and "diminishing" importance of natural resourses!) are well visible.

Japanese corporate structure has a frustrating reputation for free traders and hedge investors, but apparently they still caught the reform virus this late...  

by das monde on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 03:50:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, there's the phrase simply splayed, isn't it...

"tear down the archaic barrier between banking and broking,"  (We assume they mean brokering.)

Jeez, i'm not sure if there were any hiccups in letting Bank of America and 1st Local Sparkasse of Düsseldorf and Des Moines compete with Goldman Sachs and eTrade.  Guess it doesn't matter since they're all getting bailed out by the Feds of the world.  (The preceeding comment has been ruled simplistic, as it ignores the relative sanity of the ECB.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Dec 26th, 2007 at 11:17:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The "archaic" Glass-Steagall Act is so 20th century...

Does the society has to be that much dependent on those electronic shuffle games with big numbers?

by das monde on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 04:36:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Par for the course, the politics of the situation is completely ignored.  The finance ministry decides this, and it is done.  Bull.  The Japanese government is still torn over the last election, which brought about a divided government with one party controlling the upper house, and another the lower house and thus the government.  Given the one-party-state nature of recent Japanese political history, this has not been a very cozy situation.

While it's possible that some sort of agreement between the two parties has been reached for this, it doesn't seem too likely.  I haven't been paying too much attention over the past few weeks, though, so I could be wrong.

by Zwackus on Thu Dec 27th, 2007 at 12:14:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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