Japan prepares æNo ActionÆ law

Rules should make regulation of securities industry open û but no one has seen the actual proposal.

Navigating Japans byzantine regulatory system is a murky, frustrating and costly endeavour for any foreign business, whether in financial services, telecoms, pharmaceuticals or automobiles. The written laws are often modelled or simply copied from third countries, but the translation ends up vague or ambiguous, leaving various ministries wide scope to interpret these laws and draft ordinances an opportunity they have always seized. These rules tend to be inflexible and difficult for foreign businesses to interpret.

The same problems have confronted Japanese companies, but at least as far as financial services go, in the days before Big Bang, a company could reach a gentlemans agreement with the pertinent regulator. Foreign companies lack the...

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