- Hotel Okura Tokyo
The Bellwether Series: Japan
Asian finance: Credit where it’s due
Now in its fourth year, The Bellwether Series 2013: Japan will convene strategic finance decision makers including senior policymakers, business leaders and leading thinkers to examine the critical financial challenges facing Asia and in particular Japan.
In 2012, The Bellwether Series: Japan drew an audience of over 150 senior policymakers, institutional investors, heads of banks and financial institutions, senior officials from regulatory bodies in Japan. The programme explored the global financial landscape--Europe in particular--and what it means for Japan's financial restoration. The panels included senior representatives from the IMF, ADB, Financial Times, Chief Economists from Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China, Japan's banking community and a closing session with Motohisa Furukawa, Minister for National Policy and Minister of State for Economist and Fiscal Policy.
Motohisa Furukawa, former Minister of National Policy, Government of Japan
Eisuke Sakakibara, former Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs, Government of Japan
|Iwan Azis, Head, Office of Regional Integration, Asian Development Bank|
Financial systems in the Asia-Pacific region deserve credit for their resilience in troubled times. They have weathered America’s fiscal squabbles and Europe’s financial squalls remarkably well. Asia-Pacific lenders, especially from Japan and Australia, have helped to fill the gaps left by retreating euro-area banks. Asian investors are venturing their money elsewhere in the region, helping to knit their economies more closely together. And foreign investors, starved of safe assets, are flocking to the region’s bonds, which were issued in record quantities in 2012.
But the global financial crisis proved that tranquillity is no excuse for complacency. The Asia-Pacific region remains heavily exposed to shifts in global financial sentiment. It must also contend with swings in global regulation, as new rules promulgated in America and Europe begin to pinch elsewhere in the world.
The growing success of Asia-Pacific’s bond markets is a potential worry for the region’s banks, which may respond to the threat of disintermediation by cutting corners or lowering standards. And in venturing overseas, the region’s lenders and investors demonstrate the strength of their balance sheets, but also the paucity of opportunities at home.
The task ahead for Asia’s financial system is to help the region’s economies evolve and diversify, which is different from merely helping them grow. The challenge is to promote new firms and industries, not merely cater to incumbents. Asia needs a financial system that makes better use of the region’s savings in the service of its development—a financial system that, in short, gives credit where it’s due. The Bellwether Series: Japan will explore these issues and what they mean for Japan’s future.
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global investor sentiment highlights confidence in Asia-pacific growth
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The chairperson will give scene-setting remarks for the day’s discussions.
Simon Cox, Asia Economics Editor, The Economist
In Conversation with: International Monetary Fund
The global financial landscape
This session will examine the implications of global financial developments for the world and Japan.
Global report via video link:
Safe assets: The collateral crunch
Truly safe assets are in short supply around the world. So too is yield. Triple-A assets created by securitisation proved untrustworthy during the financial crisis. The debt of several European sovereigns is now in doubt. Even US Treasuries are hostage to America’s partisan fiscal politics. At the same time, the world’s appetite for safe assets, both as stores of value and as collateral, has rarely been greater. One consequence is razor-thin yields, even in Japan, where gross government debt is more than 200% of GDP. This poses a dilemma for asset managers, who must take greater risks to spice up their returns.
Finance without borders
Financial institutions from Japan, Australia and elsewhere in the region have shown a new willingness to venture overseas. Their balance sheets are strong, their home markets are saturated and euro-area lenders are in retreat. The region’s banks thus have an opportunity to become pan-Asian or even global. But crossborder banking poses challenges of their own.
China: The economic consequences of Mr Li
China’s economic policy is now in the hands of a new team, led by Li Keqiang, the prime minister. Unlike most of China’s leaders, Mr Li trained as an economist, not as an engineer. He believes the economy should promote a “harmonious” society, much like the leadership he is replacing. But he has also invited some fresh thinking from outsiders (such as the World Bank) on how to achieve that goal.
RMB Internationalisation: Preparing for the future of finance
The internationalisation of the yuan is already well underway, but do we really understand where it is taking us? A succession of policy tweaks have already added up to a quite significant change in the RMB’s role. How much more is there to come? That will depend on what China is prepared to allow and when—and what the rest of the world then makes of it. Will the RMB become a major reserve currency? Will it loom large on foreign exchange markets? Will RMB assets attract investment flows?
China is Japan’s largest trade partner and the destination for much of its direct investment. And yet settlements in RMB only remain a tiny proportion of total transactions between the two countries. This panel will examine the impact of RMB internationalisation on Japan’s economy, businesses and its financial sector.
This session will set aside conventional wisdom and cosy, consensus forecasts to ask some “what ifs”: low-probability, hypothetical scenarios, both good and bad. We will ask panellists
Then we will engage the audience in their own assessment of the final scenario. The aim is to encourage key takeaways which can be applied towards business strategy planning. The
Special feature: Abenomics
When a government policy acquires its own special name, you know that something is different. So what exactly is Abenomics; what has it achieved; and where will it take Japan?
Closing keynote interview
The Deputy Governor of the Bank of Japan will provide an overview, including its monetary policies and blueprint for growth.
Hiroshi Nakaso, Deputy Governor, Bank of Japan
Chairperson’s closing remarks
Networking cocktail reception
Simon Cox, Asia Economics Editor, The Economist
Tamzin Booth, Tokyo Bureau Chief, The Economist
Andrew Staples, Director, Economist Corporate Network, Japan, The Economist
Hiroshi Nakaso, Deputy Governor, Bank of Japan
Naoyuki Shinohara, Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
Katsunori Mikuniya, Former Commissioner, Financial Services Agency and Professor, University of Tokyo
Atsushi Saito, Group Chief Executive Officer, Japan Exchange Group
Yukari Sato, Parliamentary Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry and Member, the House of Councilors
Masahiro Kawai, Dean and Chief Executive Officer, Asian Development Bank Institute
Nana Otsuki, Managing Director, Global Research, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Kurt Woetzel, Chief Executive Officer, Global Collateral Services, BNY Mellon
Hironari Nozaki, Managing Director, Citigroup Global Markets Japan
Naoto Saito, Senior Economist, Daiwa Institute of Research
Martin Schulz, Senior Research Fellow, Fujitsu Research Institute
Ryuji Yasuda, Professor, Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy, Hitotsubashi University
Koji Sakuma, General Manager and Chief Economist, Institute of International Monetary Affairs
Tim Murray, Managing Partner, J Capital Research
Jesper Koll, Managing Director and Head of Japanese Equity Research, JP Morgan
Kokichi Komagata, Chairman, Kokusai Asset Management
Daisuke Iwase, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President, Lifenet Insurance Company
Shen Jian-guang, Chief Economist, Mizuho Securities Asia
Katsuyuki Tokushima, Chief Investment Advisor of Financial Research Group, Nippon Life Insurance Research Institute
Sadayuki Horie, Senior Researcher, Nomura Research Institute
Arvind Subramanian, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics
Yao Yang, Professor of the National School of Development, Peking University
Junko Nishioka, Chief Economist, RBS Securities
Yoshihiko Miyauchi, Representative Executive Officer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Orix
Yosuke Tsuyuguchi, Senior Advisory Officer, Shinkin Central Bank
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Where will Abenomics take Japan?
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