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Japan plans hub for foreign brokers to file in English

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Japan is considering creating a hub where financial firms can file regulatory paperwork in English as Tokyo aims to recruit banks and brokerages away from Hong Kong and other parts of the world, according to people familiar with the matter.

[TOKYO] Japan is considering creating a hub where financial firms can file regulatory paperwork in English as Tokyo aims to recruit banks and brokerages away from Hong Kong and other parts of the world, according to people familiar with the matter.

The one-stop venue could start operating as soon as next spring with English-language filing to begin before that in early 2021 via Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA), according to the people.

The creation of the centre would form part of Japan's efforts to boost Tokyo's status as an global financial centre as China's crackdown on Hong Kong generates concerns among some businesses.

The language barrier, high taxes, a rigid labour market and excessive bureaucracy have been cited as impediments to boosting the status of the Japanese capital compared with Hong Kong and Singapore.

"This may be just a small step, but I'd like to positively welcome it," said Katsuyuki Hasegawa, economist at Mizuho Research Institute. Making the regulatory system work online is another important area that needs addressing, he added.

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Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga wants to make Japan more inviting for overseas financiers as part of his reform agenda. He's said he wants to speed up efforts to cut some taxes to this end and make more business services available in English.

The FSA is discussing the staffing size and operational details of the centre while trying to simplify the regulatory process and enable it to be done in English. A location near Tokyo Stock Exchange is under consideration, the people said.

An FSA official said it was true the agency was looking into making registration and other administrative processes possible in English for overseas financial firms.

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