Japan

Japan's financial watchdog said it requested Mizuho Financial Group Inc. and its banking arm Mizuho Bank to submit a work plan for system maintenance after a series of system failures this year, in a rare move to effectively oversee the system of a major bank, Kyodo News reported. The Financial Services Agency made the request as part of its business improvement order issued amid lingering concerns over the security of the financial group's system after it experienced seven failures this year.

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According to Teikoku Databank, the number of bankruptcies in Japan resulting from COVID-19 (including companies with liabilities of less than ¥10 million and individually run businesses) reached 2,000 as of noon on Sept. 3, 2021, nippon.com reported. Liabilities from the bankruptcies totaled ¥620.6 billion, with 58.2% (1,163 bankruptcies) involving liabilities of less than ¥100 million. The first bankruptcy related to the pandemic was confirmed on Feb. 26, 2020. Following that, 500 bankruptcies were confirmed as of Sept. 8 of that year; 1,000 as of Feb.

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The ancient capital of Kyoto has long been a tourist mecca, attracting domestic and international travelers to its World Heritage-designated temples, shrines and rock gardens, The Japan Times reported. For centuries, Kyoto, home of the emperor, was a forbidden city, inaccessible to the outside world. Foreign travelers passing through Japan in the 17th through the 19th centuries were not allowed to step foot in it.

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Coronavirus-induced business failures in Japan rose 49% in August to 121 from a year earlier amid a fourth wave of COVID infections, Nikkei Asia reported. Analysis from research specialist Tokyo Shoko Research published Wednesday found that the total number of coronavirus-induced bankruptcies from January to August reached 1,026, accounting for around 26% of all business failures in Japan over the period. The restaurant and bar businesses have been hit hardest.
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Australia's competition regulator on Monday denied authorisation for Qantas Airways and Japan Airlines (JAL) to coordinate flights between the two countries, citing competition concerns as international travel is set to resume, Reuters reported. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Rod Sims said the regulator was not satisfied that the public benefits of the proposed joint business agreement would outweigh harm to competition.
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Japan Airlines Co. plans to raise about 300 billion yen ($2.7 billion) via subordinated bonds and loans to shore up its capital in case the coronavirus pandemic hurts travel demand longer than it expects, Bloomberg News reported. The Tokyo-based carrier said it secured around 200 billion yen in loans from four Japanese banks and plans to sell 100 billion yen of bonds. The financing is partly a “preventive measure” to counter the long-term business impact of Covid-19, general manager of finance Yuichiro Kito told reporters.
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Japan's economy grew an annualised clip of 1.9% in the second quarter, better than the initial estimate of a 1.3% gain, revised government data showed, confirming a gradual recovery from the COVID-induced slump, Reuters reported. The revised figure for gross domestic product (GDP) released by the Cabinet Office on Wednesday compared with economists' median forecast for a 1.6% annualised growth in a Reuters poll. On a quarter-on-quarter basis GDP expanded 0.5% in the April-June quarter, also better than the initial reading of 0.3% and compared with a median forecast for a 0.4% rise.
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U.S. payments giant PayPal Holdings Inc. said it would acquire Japanese "buy now, pay later" (BNPL) firm Paidy in a $2.7 billion largely cash deal, taking another step to claim the top spot in an industry experiencing a pandemic-led boom, Reuters reported. The deal tracks rival Square Inc.'s agreement last month to buy Australian BNPL success story Afterpay Ltdfor $29 billion, which experts said was likely the beginning of a consolidation in the sector.
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A global financial crimes watchdog urged Japan on Monday to improve cooperation between different government agencies as part of efforts to combat money-laundering and the financing of terrorism, Reuters reported. Responding to the report by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Japan's finance ministry announced a three-year action plan that will include an anti-money laundering inter-agency task force and tighter supervision of financial institutions.
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Japan's retail sales rose for a fifth straight month in July, beating expectations as the consumer sector continued its recovery, although a coronavirus resurgence has cast doubts over the spending outlook, Reuters reported. A surge in Delta variant cases this month forced the government to widen state of emergency restrictions, which are now threatening to hurt consumer spending and derail a fragile economic recovery.
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