Japan's Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Heizo Takenaka said the proportion of bad loans held by large banks in Japan is declining quicker than he expected and is approaching a level of less than 5 percent. \n"Japan's financial appearance is changing," Takenaka said on Fuji Television's Hodo 2001 program. Financial reform, including action by the banks, "is in line with what we assumed a year ago, or rather a bit faster." \nTakenaka introduced a plan last year to force Mizuho Financial Group Inc and other large banks to halve their bad loans by March 2005. Mizuho, Japan's largest lender, and its three closest rivals said on Dec. 3 their outstanding bad loans were ?13.8 trillion (US$129 billion) as of Sept. 30, down 31 percent from a year ago. \nMizuho, Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group Inc, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc and UFJ Holdings Inc all expect to return to profit this year, after two years of combined record losses, as the strengthening economy helps borrowers repay debt. \nThe four forecast a combined ?1.23 trillion in net profit this year, as they expect the cost of dealing with bad loans to fall two thirds. \nBusinesses are more optimistic than they have been in six-and-a-half years, according to the Bank of Japan's Tankan survey of business confidence, released Dec. 12. \nMizuho, Japan's largest lender, said its bad-loan ratio stood at 5.8 percent as of Sept. 30, compared with 6.44 percent a year earlier, while Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc, the second-largest, said its ratio was 7 percent compared with 9.4 percent last September. \nMitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group Inc, Japan's largest bank by market value, said last month it cut its bad-loan ratio in half to 3.8 percent at the end of September from 8.1 percent as of the end of March last year, meeting a deadline set by regulators nearly 18 months early.
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
China would attack Taiwan if there is no other way of stopping it from becoming independent, Chinese General Li Zuocheng (李作成) said yesterday. Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of China’s “Anti-Secession” Law, Li, who is chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Central Military Commission, left the door open to using force. The 2005 law is China’s legislative basis for military action against Taiwan. “If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
RELATIONSHIP ‘TERMINATED’: US Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the president’s action was ‘an act of extraordinary senselessness,’ a tone Chinese media echoed US President Donald Trump on Friday announced that Washington would withdraw funding from the WHO, end Hong Kong’s special trade status and suspend visas of Chinese graduate students suspected of conducting research on behalf of their government. Trump said in a White House announcement that Chinese officials “ignored” their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressured the organization to mislead the public about the outbreak. “We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act,” he said. “Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be