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Japan aims to reinvigorate Tokyo as global finance hub

TOKYO, May 27, 2007 (AFP) - Faced with growing competition from Hong Kong and Singapore, Japan aims to reinvigorate Tokyo as a global financial hub with a lofty goal of developing a new foreigner-friendly high-rise banking district.

The idea has raised eyebrows among foreign fund managers in the region whose biggest complaint about Tokyo is often not the lack of a decent office or apartment but high taxes and strict regulations.

Yuji Yamamoto, the minister for financial services, recently unveiled a plan for Tokyo's own version of London's Canary Wharf, a gleaming skyscraper banking district in once-derelict British docklands.

High-rise offices with 24-hour access and onsite health clubs would be developed along with housing complexes to encourage foreign banks to cluster in the area in the capital around the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Bank of Japan.

But Yamamoto did not say whether Japan would tackle high taxes and red tape, the most common complaints about Tokyo from fund managers, many of whom opt to work in Singapore or Hong Kong instead even if they manage Japanese stocks.

"Building buildings doesn't create a financial system," said one fund manager based in Singapore who asked not to be named because it could be bad for business.

"Japan has an unfavourable tax regime both for financial products and the individual. The overall operating environment in Japan is unfavourable because there is a deep suspicion of capitalism," he added.

Japan's government, concerned Tokyo has been losing business to rival financial centres such as Hong Kong and Singapore, has set up two expert committees to look at ways to boost financial competitiveness.

"Market share losses to London, Hong Kong, and Singapore have created a sense of crisis," Robert Feldman, a managing director and economist at Morgan Stanley, wrote in a report in February.

He said foreign managers in Tokyo often bemoan the lack of sufficient staff who are fluent in English.

Other frequent complaints include the length of time it takes to travel from Tokyo's Narita airport to the city centre and the firewall in Japan that means corporate and investment banking operations must be separated.

"There are still many many regulations which are a big problem," said Martin Schulz, a research fellow at the Fujitsu Research Institute.

He said firms were increasingly looking to integrate their banking and brokerage business which is not yet possible in Japan.

"This is where the money is and it's a problem for many of these banks," he said.

Britain's "Big Bang" overhaul of its financial regulations two decades ago and its pool of English-speaking workers helped to make London Europe's top financial centre ahead of Germany's Frankfurt.

The head of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Taizo Nishimuro, also warned that the plan for a new district for foreign banks, while welcome, will not be enough on its own to boost Japan's financial competitiveness.

"We cannot wait until the time when those high-rise buildings are to be built before the Tokyo financial market gets bigger and greater," he told reporters recently, noting such "hindrances" as regulations and high taxation.

But experts say major foreign banks look set to stay in Tokyo, hoping to benefit from a pick-up in demand for stocks from Japanese individuals and investment banking opportunities in partnership with local players.

US giant Citigroup last month secured a takeover offer of the scandal-hit Japanese securities firm Nikko Cordial for 7.7 billion dollars as hostility to takeovers by foreign companies gradually abates.

And with the Japanese economy recovering from its long slump, Tokyo looks set to remain "a very big market which cannot be ignored by the bigger players," said Schulz.
 

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Tokyo needs to change it deep-rooted traditional ways.

The thing about Greater Tokyo (despite its immense economy) that makes it not as "business-friendly" as the likes of London and New York is its inability to adapt to the latest trends in business transactions. There's too much red-tape in the sense that a lot of businesses are stuck in their traditional ways.

Much smaller but, definitely, more dynamic cities like Singapore and Hong Kong are better places for business whether for investment or for joint-venture prospects simply because these dynamic duos streamline every aspect of their business climate to allow more transparency and efficiency. I mean, business transactions made in Hong Kong or Singapore are free-flowing and nearly glitch-free.

Another factor that makes New York, London, Singapore, and Hong Kong more enticing locations for foreign (foreign to the country or region) investments is its ambiguity, primarily, on the culture side. And, the language-barrier being the biggest sub-factor. Culture-wise, the Japanese aren't simply as open as Americans or the British.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love Japan and the Japanese people's ability to be able to abide by the rules more than any major country in the world. But it needs to loosen up a bit. It needs to loosed foreign immigration rules so that foreigners willing to immigrate to their country won't have a hard time doing so. Innovation is key in this century (It's innovate or die...baby)...Japan needs to realize that.
 

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Fidelity moves Japanese equity trading to Hong Kong

TOKYO, May 29 (Reuters) - U.S. asset management company Fidelity plans to shift its Japanese equities trading desk to Hong Kong from Tokyo in a move that may be the latest sign of Japan's diminishing importance in Asian finance.

Fidelity said on Tuesday it will send seven of its traders to Hong Kong, integrating them with a larger, cross-market trading desk there. The company's 21 Japan fund managers will remain in Tokyo.

A spokeswoman for Fidelity, which in Tokyo has a staff of about 450 and manages about $47 billion in assets, said the firm was not pulling away from the world's second-largest economy.

"We purely made this decision from an operational efficiency standpoint, and it has no impact on the way we do business in Japan," said Tomoko Aikawa, the company's director of corporate communications in Tokyo. "It's not going to change our commitment (to Japan)."

But that may be little consolation for Yuji Yamamoto, Japan's financial services minister.

Last week, Yamamoto admitted what many financial players have said for some time: Tokyo risks becoming Asia's financial backwater.

"Japan's internationalisation efforts have lagged," Yamamoto said in a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

Despite its economic strength, Japan accounts for only 5 percent of financial industry profits worldwide.

In 1990, Tokyo's stock market capitalisation made up 30 percent of the global total. By 2006, the contribution had fallen to below 10 percent.

The merger and acquisition market here is just a 12th of the size of the U.S. M&A market, and currency trading amounts to about half of the U.S. market total, according to the Nikkei business daily.

EXODUS FROM TOKYO

High taxes and finicky regulators have been blamed for driving foreigners to smaller but more cosmopolitan centres such as Singapore and Hong Kong.

"The Asia FX market was focused all around Tokyo. In the last two years, we've seen an exodus, literally an exodus, from Tokyo towards Singapore and Hong Kong, with Singapore leading the way," said a currency broker in Hong Kong.

With the rise of those centres, Tokyo is increasingly seen as a national financial hub, not an international one, said Nick Frank, director of Strategem Global Recruitment in London.

"Even though my background is Tokyo and my original recruitment network has always been in Tokyo ... 70 to 80 percent of my business in now in Singapore and Hong Kong," said Frank, who specialises in placing bankers in Asia.

Yamamoto has acknowledged that countries with low corporate taxes such as Singapore have had an easier time luring foreign firms than has Japan.

However, he has so far given no hint that Japan would ease its tax rate for companies.

He has said Tokyo should launch its own version of London's Canary Wharf, a revitalised district now home to some of the world's largest financial firms.

More favourable zoning rules could help lure more financial firms to the Nihombashi area near the Bank of Japan, he said.
 

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The aggregate market value of Tokyo is the third place.
It is a scale to be next to NASDAQ, "Euro Next + OMX".
I am against calling in foreign capital.
The reason is because the Japanese electrical manufacturer which has high technology is purchased.

Japan and the world are rolled up in barbarian economic system created by a Jew and an Anglo-Saxon.
The government of Japan and various countries in the world does not so have to be eager.
 

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U.S.A. which was defeated by Japan and Germany by manufacturing industry mainly in 80's.
It revived by finance and IT after 90's.
And U.S.A. is going to conquer the world again.

It happnes in the world now.
Ten years later, Europe (except the U.K.) and Japan will be regret.
 

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To hkskyline
hkskyline which did a post of this thread, "Hong Kong and Singapore a position as the money market is riseing".
Do you want to say in this way?
The Chinese had better abandon ultra right wing ideology.

In this site, a person of Japan and Germany of a major economic power are quiet generally.
It is people of a country of "C" and "A" and "B" that self-assertion is very strong, and attracting attention very much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Reuters is a British-based news service.

Having a strong domestic economy is not the same as being a strong international hub.

Someone is a bit brainwashed by right-wingist propaganda and conspiracy theories back home.
 

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I am against the Friedman economics that the Anglo-Saxons are spreading.
The drop of a wealthy person was not gone around in the lower layer after all.

The system which gets big profit just to change money is unhealthy.
I will fail sometime.
 

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Well even if you don't agree with it, it rules the world, and everyone has to adapt or stay in their own bubble. That's one of the crisis points Japan faces as the world gets more and more internationalized. Having strong domestic companies export alone is not enough to survive in today's global economy.

We can question, but we can't change reality.
 

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In reality, a finance special ward design advances. A Japanese bureaucrat is a dog of neoliberalism, too. They are going to do Bank of Japan neighborhood of Tokyo in the Wall Street.
The classical economics group such as Keynes school and Joseph E. Stiglitz, and Frankfurt school made reflux in particular after 90's.
It is Chicago school now to be superior. The elites in the world that acquired MBA in U.S.A. are attacked by poison of the neoliberalism.

現実には、金融特区構想は進んでいく。日本の官僚も、新自由主義の犬だ。東京の日銀界隈を、ウォール街にしようとしている。90年代以降特に、ケインズ学派やジョセフ スティグリッツら、古典派経済学派及び、フランクフルト学派が退潮した。今、優勢なのはシカゴ学派だ。アメリカでMBAを取得した世界中のエリートは、新自由主義の毒におかされている。
 

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It is defeatism.
It rise in a voice of the anti-globalism.
I think that the present Jewish economic system will fail in the future. In U.S.A., the CEO of the southern part and the middle western district says a thing similar to me.
Of course in continent Europe.

それは敗北主義。
反グローバリズムの声は、年々高まっている。
将来、今のユダヤ経済システムは、破綻すると思う。
私は、ウォール街のエリートと、中国人は、イデオロギーが似ていると思う。
アメリカにおいても、南部や中西部などのCEOは、私と同じ様なことを言っている。
勿論、大陸欧州も。
 

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Japan has to adapt to modern economic circumstances. To refuse to do so will only make the actions necessary to reverse the situation more harsh. It happened to Britain and America who thought they could still rely on heavy industry years after it began moving abroad to find cheaper labour markets. The result was drastic actions had to be taken to reverse the trend. Granted pure monetarism was a failure but it cannot be denied the rise of Neo classical economics has stimulated the growth of the world economy, and opened up markets. Inflation and unemployment have declined, although underlying problems persist in the forms of large debts and poor increase in number of jobs, but the situation has drastically improved. Markets have to adapt to the outside world. If that means decreasing some corporate tax, it must be done to stimulate the economy.

Japan is a economic super power but cannot afford to lapse into complacency as it has done in the last decade especially with economies like China growing exponentially.

I don't see how it is justifiable to relate modern economics to 'Anglo-Saxons.' This is a world economy and every country is participating to benefit themselves as best they can. Assigning particular traits to cultures or races is bollocks! Pragmatism should be the order of the day.

I would agree that the political and social ideology of neoliberals like Malcolm Freidman benefit ruling elites and perpetuate inequality. However, strong economies help pull people out of poverty and pay for social welfare and health services. Dogmatically retaining old failing attitudes only increases frustration and pessimism.
 

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A thought totally objects with me.
The U.K. fell to the pure import country of the industrial product in the Thatcher times. In addition, the difference of the poverty and wealth spread, too. Briton cannot choose the hospital freely.
U.S.A. does not produce even a milk bottle and buckets at the time of the car washing at home.
They import it from the factory of the downtown area of Tokyo.
The hospitalization is not possible even if infected with a heavy disease because it is not the universal care. In Japan, the operation on the heart is taken for 3,000 dollars, but takes it more than 100,000 dollars in U.S.A.
Far from having done the world wealthily, the neoliberalism ideology makes it unhappy.
Karel van Wolferen of the Dutch scholar published a book called "absurd system which It make only U.S.A. happy, and make the world unhappy" in Japan ten years ago and criticized neoliberalism. I think that he is right.
In addition, please read written by Eric.Schlosser "FAST FOOD NATION".

In addition, may eternity continue buying a cheap industrial product from China?
There are the Chinese personnel expenses in an upward trend, too, and the yuan will rise, too.
The American must come to give up that I continue over-consumption by having you purchase a national debt from Asia.
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Japenese
私と考えが全く反対です。
英国は、サッチャー時代に、工業製品の純輸入国に転落しました。また、貧富の差も拡大し、病院も自由に選べません。米国は、牛乳ビンや、洗車の時のバケツすら、自国で製造していません。それらは、東京の下町の工場から輸入しています。
国民皆保険制度ではないため、重い病気に罹患しても、入院もできません。日本では、3000ドルで心臓手術は、受けられるが、米国では10万ドル以上かかります。
新自由主義イデオロギーは、世界を豊かにしたどころか、不幸にしています。
オランダの学者のK・V・ウォルフレンは、10年前、「アメリカだけを幸せにして、世界を不幸にする不条理なシステム」という本を日本で出版して、新自由主義を批判しました。私も彼が正しいと思います。また、エリック・シュローサー著「ファストフードが世界を食い尽くす」も、読んでみて下さい。
それに、中国などから安い工業製品を、未来永劫、買い続ける事が可能でしょうか?
中国人の人件費も上昇傾向にあり、元も上がるでしょう。
米国人は、アジアから国債を購入してもらうことにより、過剰消費を続けることを断念しなければならなくなるでしょう。
 

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Briton cannot choose the hospital freely.

The hospitalization is not possible even if infected with a heavy disease because it is not the universal care. In Japan, the operation on the heart is taken for 3,000 dollars, but takes it more than 100,000 dollars in U.S.A.
Where the hell do you get this stuff from!!?:nuts:

National Health care in Britain is still very much free and the price of health care doesn't change, its only expensive as that if there is no national health care and no personal health insurance.

Britain's industry declined because most of it was no longer viable in the international market!
And so what if stuff like buckets are not produced in America itself, importing from somewhere like China or Japan is cheaper for the country! The labor theory of value dictates that both countries win out in the end. If in America it takes twice as much work to make a car than a truck, and if in Japan it takes 3 times as much work, Japan can sell cars at American prices in America and receive a truck for the equivalent of two cars, instead of the equivalent of three making it cheaper. Vice versa, when an American Truck is sold at Japaneses prices they can get three cars back. Both countries win out.

But there are many other influences on trade other than the price of labor.
In addition countries may have advantages in design of products, thus be able to export this to other countries that can use them to produce the actual goods. Industry isn't the be all and end all of national economies. Additionally, good very in quality and in their demand, various cars have various prices for example. Supply and demand eventually determines the most favorable import/export ratio for each country, barring there is not excessive effects from monopolization and tariffs.
 

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To PresidentBjork
No, in the U.K., They cannot choose the hospital. They can use only one's local hospital living in or an appointed hospital. Reputation is the hospital which is not good, but must endure it.

In Japan, We can choose hospital of any place freely.
This is the miserable end of the neoliberalism.

Britain's industry declined because most of it was no longer viable in the international market!
There are a famous car maker and electrical maker in Germany and France or the Netherlands. There is not it in the U.K. Why is it?
They contribute to the employment.
In fact, finance and the IT do not contribute to the employment very much.
 

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No, you can now choose which hospitals you wish to receive treatment in.

There is an issue with cleanliness in some hospitals, and I believe more cleaning staff should be hired.

However, the NHS is over maligned and has recovered significantly form the years of the 80s when it was starved of funds. The overall provision of health is very good, but you always hear of the rare horror stories instead of the general positive aspects thanks to the media.
 

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The Japanese are a very unilateral people, and I think they need to open themselves up to other cultures and nationalities before the true potential of the economy (yeah I said it) can actually be realized. I had a friend go to Osaka this past year and he really didn't enjoy it that much, because no one really wanted to speak english (even the tourist agencies) and he was looked down on as a westerner. I'm not saying this attitude is widespread, but it's this type of thing that will keep Japan from really taking off, which is hard to fathom, considering it's already one of the economic powerhouses of the world.
 

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The Japanese are a very unilateral people, and I think they need to open themselves up to other cultures and nationalities before the true potential of the economy (yeah I said it) can actually be realized. I had a friend go to Osaka this past year and he really didn't enjoy it that much, because no one really wanted to speak english (even the tourist agencies) and he was looked down on as a westerner. I'm not saying this attitude is widespread, but it's this type of thing that will keep Japan from really taking off, which is hard to fathom, considering it's already one of the economic powerhouses of the world.
Japan is opening-like for the other culture. If the country of the information dispatch is U.S.A. most in the world, the receptive country will be Japan. But there is the still insufficient point. The Japanese Government should work hard to accept political refugees. In Hong Kong, it is refused the passenger an African person by a taxi. As for the Japanese of my friend, she was refused the ride of the taxi in the U.K.
There is not such a discrimination in Japan.

I am agreeable in the invitation of the foreign capital in consideration for stakeholder such as a worker, a customer, the community and manufacturing industry. It is hedge fund that I object.

Now, British hedge fund "children investment fund" buys up the stock of the Japanese electric power company and does an increased ration demand to the stockholder. The company should give priority to that lower a price than the increased ration to the stockholder.
There should be importance of a stockholder lowest.

I right think a city and the Wall Street to be cancer on the earth.
 

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I had a friend go to Osaka this past year and he really didn't enjoy it that much, because no one really wanted to speak english (even the tourist agencies) and he was looked down on as a westerner.
Then I heard it, but did your friend study Japanese?
You should learn the Japanese daily life conversation if you come to Japan for a trip. He would misunderstand it not to be able to understand their words because he did not study Japanese when looked down.

I understand it from his remark. The Westerners never recognize world cultural variety. On the contrary, They invade it and are going to force sense of values.
 
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