Japan's recovery to pick up
Japan's economic recovery will speed up this year as stability in the financial system increases, Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Heizo Takenaka said. "The economy should pull out of its stagnation from the middle of the year and turn into a recovery phase, as fundamentals, mainly the country's financial system, are being strengthened," Takenaka said today on Japan Broadcasting Corp.'s NHK television program Sunday Debate. Japan should discuss the possibility of raising consumption tax in the year ending March 2007, Takenaka said on the program. "Japan should decide whether the country will keep cutting annual expenditure or raise the tax burden," Takenaka said. Japan's ruling coalition, led by the Liberal Democratic Party, agreed last month on a comprehensive reform of the tax system, including the 5 percent consumption tax, in the year starting April 2007 to cope with the aging of Japanese society.
Chinese bank to sell stakes
Germany's Deutsche Bank AG and Holland's ING Groep NV may buy stakes in Bank of Beijing, the 16th biggest of China's city commercial lenders, the Economic Observer said, citing an unidentified person. The Chinese lender on Jan. 8 said it's in talks with overseas financial institutions that may result in at least two foreign banks taking a combined 24.98 percent stake as part of expansion plans ahead of an initial share sale within two years. China's banking regulator last year allowed the nation's city commercial banks to expand outside their home base for the first time, making them more attractive to overseas lenders.
Mitsubishi joins Daiei effort
Mitsubishi Corp, Japan's largest trading company, will join a group led by Aeon Co in its bid to help revitalize Daiei Inc, the Nihon Keizai newspaper said. Mitsubishi will supply products, develop shops and sell real estate, but won't invest in the retailer, according to the report. Aeon, Kyocera Corp and Mitsubishi plan to help restructure Daiei by taking advantage of facilities and distribution channels of the trading house's group company Lawson Inc, Japan's second-largest convenience store chain, the paper said. Daiei is now seeking ?707 billion in financial aid to cut debt. Aeon and Ito-Yokado, Japan's second-largest retailer, and Wal-Mart Stores are bidding in groups with other retailers, real estate companies and investment funds.
China regulator on way out
Shang Fulin (尚福林), head of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, and other senior managers in charge of restructuring the nation's capital markets may be removed after the nation's stock markets continue to slump for a fourth consecutive year, the Economic Observer said, citing unidentified industry people. Shang, who took over from Zhou Xiaochuan (周小川) as chairman in 2003, may be replaced by Deputy Finance Minister Lou Jiwei (樓繼偉), the newspaper said. The chairman's assistant and commission vice chairman may also be changed, the report said. The Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 15 percent last year and its counterpart in Shenzhen lost almost 17 percent, the two worst performers of 62 primary global indexes tracked by Bloomberg. The declines were blamed in part on corruption scandals and a series of brokerage failures.