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Word Count: 767
JAPANS BIG BANG FINANCIAL DEREGULATION IMPLICATIONS FOR REGULATORY AND SUPERVISORY POLICY Former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto announced that government would undertake an extensive deregulation of Japans financial system by 2001 a proposal likened by senior officials to the Big Bang financial deregulation in the United Kingdom more than a decade ago The exact nature of these reforms the timetable for implementation and indeed whether the reforms will be as sweeping as promised is still uncertain The fundamental changes proposed even were they to greatly benefit the Japanese economy as a whole would necessarily entail losers as well as winners And the potential losers at present protected by regulation from market competition in Japans compartmentalized financial-services industry are likely to vigorously oppose change Financial deregulation in Japan has been on the agenda for many years proceeding only gradually and some skeptics argue that a sense of dj vu surrounds the present push for deregulation as well Japans financial system however is at a juncture today which is not comparable to any other episode during the past 45 years Stress in the Japanese financial system especially failure to quickly resolve the non-performing loan problem continues to hold back the economy and has stagnated a large part of the real estate market And the shortcomings of the existing regulatory and supervisory structure pit against vastly different financial institutions and markets than just 15 years ago is readily apparent Market forces and competition among financial institutions make the existing financial structure incompatible with Japans regulatory and supervisory structure For these conflicts to be resolved reform is necessary Hence economic as well as political pressure for fundamental reform will continue even if the present wave of popular opinion against Japans financial institutions and regulators especially the Ministry of Finance wanes Although there is conflict between the existing financial system and regulatory structure changes in regulatory and supervisory policy would likely help resolve this conflict One proposal
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