Friday, June 18, 2010

Japan: new financial nation

A couple of weeks ago we posted a blog entitled Japan takes another step offshore, looking at how Japan was starting to insert temporary tax exemptions for foreigners wishing to invest in Japanese bonds, as an offshore lure to draw in capital. That was bad enough, but now look at this:

"The government says it will create a “new financial nation” that will “rejuvenate and develop” the markets’ capabilities and make Japan an Asian financial centre that “draws in funds from the globe” and “opens up the country”.

The story is about a stock exchange merger, which is not something that (on the face of it) needs bother us, but this sentence, especially the second half of it, is looking increasingly like a pattern developing: a new Japanese offshore push. The Financial Times seems to be cheerleading this abusive new approach to finance, assuming that our worst fears are realised, which our earlier blog suggests they will be.

"The toughest of them all, and one that no government is likely to be able to reform radically, is Japan’s highly uncompetitive tax and regulatory regimes. They are no match for the more appealing environments of Singapore and Hong Kong, where many financial institutions — even those specialising in Japanese securities — choose to base themselves. For now, it would seem, Japan’s shiny “new financial nation” will continue to lack polish."

Shame on the Financial Times, for its desire to see Japan push further.


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