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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 14:10 09/29/2008
News Review #465: September 29, 2008

Their Wounds Have Healed. Now Japan's Banks Are on the Hunt Again

Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO

Their Wounds Have Healed. Now Japan's Banks Are on the Hunt Again
Guardian (9/28/2008)


This article has a subtitle, "But can they manage expansion better than last time," implying that it is not just a factual report but rather a commentary referring to the management ability of Japanese companies like Nomura and Mitsubishi in the context of international finance. The fact, of course, is that Nomura Holdings Inc. is buying Lehman Brothers' Asian and Middle East, and Mitsubishi Financial Group Inc. is becoming Morgan Stanley's largest shareholder, a development that is called "Revenge of the Ninjas" in this article.

Why these Japanese giant institutions are about to embark on "globalization" now is an important question to ask, and the answer is that it is not a result of their well thought-out strategy based on the strengths of their internal resources, but that it is an opportunity which happens to be given to them externally, as a result of the current turmoil in international finance. Furthermore, their financial strength does not stem mainly from their success in managing funds globally, but rather from their ultra-conservative management practices at home and abroad after a series of failures in international finance for the last decade or two.

Thus the question, "can they manage expansion better than last time?" The answer is at best fifty fifty, because an extremely uncertain situation is awaiting those Japanese financial institutions on the international scene, and managing uncertainties is not the strongest point of their management practices. Hopefully, the answer will turn out to be positive in the end, but that will at least require Japanese-style management to transform itself almost completely to adapt to globalization in the true sense of the word.

This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):

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