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2008年5月20日 (火)


05/20/2008 --The Asahi Shimbun, May 19(IHT/Asahi: May 20,2008)

EDITORIAL: Banking deregulation


The Diet is currently working on amending the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law, which would radically ease regulations concerning the banking business and expand the scope of services that banks are allowed to provide. The government apparently believes that such deregulation will help shore up Japanese banks, which have fallen far behind their U.S. and European rivals in international competitiveness.


The primary aim of the bill is to sharply lower regulatory walls that have separated the banking and securities businesses throughout the postwar period.




As it stands, the law prohibits banks and their brokerage subsidiaries from sharing directors or exchanging customer information. This rule is designed to prevent various unethical business practices. The system, for instance, keeps banks from putting pressure on its corporate borrowers to buy financial products from their securities affiliates. It also keeps brokerages from exerting pressure on their corporate clients to issue new bonds to raise money so as to pay back their debts to the parent banks.


As it stands=ご承知のように)(unethical=非論理的な)(brokerages=証券会社、仲介業務、斡旋業者)

exert=力を及ぼす)(bonds=債権、株式債権、社債)(raise money=資金を調達する)

In the United States and Europe, however, it is now common for banks and their securities affiliates to work hand in hand in fully integrated or closely coordinated operations. The government is apparently trying to level the playing field for Japanese banks by diluting the separation of banking and securities dealings. In exchange for deregulation of the banking industry, the bill requires banks to develop and make public their own systems to prevent unfair business practices involving their securities operations. And banks would have to keep improving these systems by having their effectiveness checked constantly by the authorities and independent experts.



(affiliates=関連会社、子会社)(dilute=薄める、弱める)(In exchange for = の代わりに、代わりに)

The second aim of the bill is to permit banks to diversify their businesses. The present law imposes a 5-percent limit on a bank's stake in a company and a 15-percent ceiling on a banking group's overall shareholding in a firm. These limits on shareholdings make it difficult for banks to expand into investment banking services such as advising on mergers and acquisitions. This restriction would be eased, but only for specified purposes like supporting the revival of a company that would be beneficial for the local economy.



mergers and acquisitions=合併吸収、M&A)(revival=回復、再生、蘇生)

The proposed revision would make it easier for Japanese banks to deal with Islamic finance, which prohibits charging interest. Banks would be able to buy facilities and lend them out for fees. The regulatory reform would also pave the way for bank involvement in trading in permits to emit greenhouse gases.


Japan's financial crisis a decade ago triggered a massive consolidation of the industry. Despite the radical change in the nation's banking landscape, the principal revenue source for Japanese banks is still retail banking--the mundane business of taking deposits and making loans.

Investment banking and other lucrative securities-related services remain noncore businesses for Japanese banks. Their business portfolios must be changed radically if they are to become more competitive in the global market. Japanese banks should take advantage of this banking deregulation to change fundamentally their corporate cultures that have been nurtured in the business environment defined by a tight web of regulations. They need to enhance their international competitiveness so that they can again make a meaningful contribution to Japan's economic growth and the financial health of Japanese people.



mundane=平凡な、ありきたりの)(lucrative=もうかる、有利な)(business portfolios=企業風土)(nurtured=育てられる、育てられた)


At the same time, the subprime credit crisis has prompted serious soul-searching within the world financial community. Some experts are wondering if the financial system has become more vulnerable due to the liberalization of financial industries that has been promoted in other industrialized nations and the sophisticated financial technologies that have been developed in recent years.



Japan's banks cannot hope to win respect in the global market simply by following the trail blazed long ago by their Western rivals. The challenge for them is how to build new business models and strategies that reflect lessons from the recent financial turbulence but still put them one step ahead of leading global players. The regulatory change will sorely test the capability of Japanese banks.



--The Asahi Shimbun, May 19(IHT/Asahi: May 20,2008)

朝日新聞5月19日号 (英語版 2008年5月20日発行)


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