Japanese banks must solve gangster problem

A Tokyo-based scholar asserts that yakuza gangsters are fundamentally woven into Japan''s financial problems.

Some debtors are more recalcitrant than others. A bank is unlikely to clean its balance sheet of non-performing loans if the borrower is willing to murder its executives.

This could be the problem that many Japanese banks struggling with a decade's worth of NPLs face, according to Velisarios Kattoulas, visiting professor at a Tokyo branch of Philadelphia-based Temple University, who made his remarks to a gathering at the Asia Society in Hong Kong.

In the Bubble-era 1980s, the main source of lending for Japanese banks - blue chips such as Toyota and Sony - found their credit was good enough to raise finances more cheaply via international bond markets than from bank loans. Bank...

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