Japanese Bank Predicts Years of Gloom for Tourist Hub Osaka

Tetsuya Kan, head of a major regional bank in Osaka, said it will take two more years for the western Japan prefecture to recover from the damage caused by COVID-19, which has crushed the city’s once thriving tourism and retail sectors, Reuters reported. The vast number of Asian tourists who had flocked to Osaka’s shopping arcades disappeared after Japan banned entry for most overseas visitors, hitting hotels, restaurants and drug stores. “The fate of the region’s economy depends on how long the pandemic will persist, and whether the restaurants and hotels can bounce back,” said Kan, president of Kansai Mirai Bank, the fourth largest lender in Osaka prefecture. “The damage from the pandemic (on the region’s economy) will probably last for about two years,” he told Reuters on Friday. The pandemic has added pains to regional banks like Kansai Mirai, already reeling from narrowing margins due to decades of ultra-low interest rates and a shrinking domestic market. Read more