The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, governments, financial institutions, and the companies that depend on ready access to capital and liquidity have all been key stakeholders in the effort to advance an appropriate approach to financial regulation.

In Japan, as in all major markets, this approach must take into account both the need for sound, prudential supervision and regulation of conduct—to avert the risky activities that triggered the crisis—and the need for capital and credit facilities.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) Banking, Finance and Capital Markets Committee has, over the past 15 years, taken a leading role in providing a forum for sharing ideas on financial policy, as well as bringing these ideas to key stakeholders and decision makers.

Our advocacy has focused both on domestic legislation, including that related to the development of a sound asset-based lending market and a reliable consumer finance market, as well as on the implementation of various global initiatives, such as derivatives regulation.

Now, with the increasing globalization of financial markets, this input is needed more than ever. The major international policy organs, including the Financial Stability Board and the International Organization of Securities Commissions, are defining the items to be debated regarding national legislation.

These include capital requirements, risk buffers, derivatives clearing, and margining requirements. In this regard, our committee has been active in developing targeted ACCJ viewpoints and public comment positions.

Over the past several years, the committee has spearheaded the following advocacy initiatives:

  • Ensuring the Personal Information Protection Law has taken into account the need for businesses to responsibly use consumer information to improve services
  • Calling for the elimination of burdensome limits on loans to small businesses
  • Calling for a review of the Civil Code to implement a secure electronic platform that would allow liens to be properly recorded and researched
  • Calling for the Money Lending Business Law to be reformed to allow lending within an affiliate group of companies without the burden of licensing under that law.

In addition to these activities, the committee has provided a robust opportunity for networking, with its monthly meetings, frequent sponsoring of speaker events, and outreach.

This outreach extends to keeping the committee members in close contact with personnel involved in events taking place in the Asia–Pacific region and, indeed, around the world. This is done with an eye to ensuring our views are part of ongoing dialogues in groups like the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Increasingly, there will be opportunities for acting as a bridge among Japan’s Financial Services Agency (which has been moving vigorously in implementing global reform packages), the Bank of Japan, and the Ministry of Finance.

As new waves of regulations for the financial sector are contemplated, the committee will play a lead role in ensuring that the voice of the financial sector is heard in the deliberations.

This month marks the transition of the committee’s leadership to veteran market participants, co-chairs Mitch Mason of Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Junichi Maruyama of Citigroup. They will be assisted by vice-chairs Jay Sapsford of Morgan Stanley and Hiroshi Ueki of Goldman Sachs.

Fellow outgoing co-chair Ernie Olsen and I will take a well-deserved rest after many years leading the committee, but look forward to remaining members.

The financial services market has never been more important to our economy, and we continue to face a myriad of challenges to balance access, service levels, security, and availability in the evolving marketplace.

Current hot topics, such as data privacy and cyber-terrorism, present challenges across all facets of the market and will necessitate a continuing dialogue.

Tom Clark, former co-chair, ACCJ Banking, Finance and Capital Markets Committee; and executive counsel, Govt. Affairs & Policy, GE Capital International
Our advocacy has focused both on domestic legislation, as well as on the implementation of various global initiatives.