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Japan Announces English-Only Business Setup for Asset Mgrs

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the creation of special business zones for asset management companies on 22 September 2023, seeking to encourage overseas players to set up shop in the country.

Kishida considers it a priority to bolster Japan’s asset management sector and tap the more than 2.1 quadrillion yen ($14.2 trillion) in assets held by Japanese households. But the language barrier has been a major obstacle in attracting overseas talent.

“We will establish special business zones tailored specifically for the asset management business where administrative procedures can be completed solely in English,” Kishida said in a speech to investors at the Economic Club of New York.

“We will take measures to improve the business and living environment tailored to needs of overseas asset managers” in these zones, he said.

He also said he will “promote deregulation to enable asset management firms to outsource their back-office operations.”

To help newcomers raise funds, Kishida will promote initiatives like the emerging manager programs in the U.S. and France, which set aside cash from pension funds and endowments specifically for emerging managers. He will set up a forum of mainly U.S. and Japanese asset management institutions to ensure planned policies reflect the needs of global investors.

The government aims to iron out the necessary regulatory changes by the end of the year and submit legislation to parliament in 2024.

“I would urge you to evaluate what we are doing in my country, look at the underlying strength of our economy and our plans for the future and then invest in Japan,” he said.

Kishida is the first Japanese prime minister to speak at the Economic Club of New York, which was founded in 1907 and counts many prominent business and economic figures as members. About 200 people attended the speech.

(Source – “Nikkei Asia“, Photo – “Japan Times“)

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