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Taiga Uranaka
For Taiga Uranaka's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani
BUSINESS / Companies
Apr 1, 2024
Rakuten considers combining financial units
A proposed IPO of its securities unit may not proceed if the integration is realized, while the banking arm is expected to remain listed.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group said it is already managing to enhance its tolerance to an anticipated rise in yen interest rates.
BUSINESS / Markets
Mar 6, 2024
Japan’s biggest bank readies for BOJ shift on rate policy within weeks
Hiroyuki Seki, head of global markets business at Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, predicts that the BOJ will raise rates not once but twice by October.
Toru Nakashima, CEO of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, says he is considering an expansion of the bank’s alliance with Jefferies Financial Group into Asia.
BUSINESS / Companies
Feb 27, 2024
Sumitomo Mitsui may expand Jefferies pact into Asia amid focus overseas
The partners won more than 30 deals since expanding their tie-up last year, in which Sumitomo Mitsui agreed to triple its stake in the U.S. bank.
Gunma Bank's video message in English is geared toward those from overseas who are flocking to Japan to buy up stocks, bonds and real estate as the nation’s assets emerge from decades of slumber.
BUSINESS / Companies
Feb 22, 2024
English video shows Japanese regional banks opening up to overseas investors
Foreigners are flocking to Japan to buy up stocks, bonds and real estate as the nation’s assets emerge from decades of slumber.
The Aozora Bank headquarters in Tokyo. The bank surprised investors with losses tied to U.S. commercial property, sending shares down by the limit and heightening concern over global banks' exposure to souring real estate bets.
BUSINESS / Companies
Feb 2, 2024
Gamble on U.S. commercial property blows up for Japan’s Aozora
Shares went down by the limit and heightened concern over global banks' exposure to souring real estate bets.
Toshinori Yashiki, deputy director-general at the Financial Services Agency, urged lenders to pay particular attention to highly-leveraged borrowers.
BUSINESS
Jan 24, 2024
Japan regulator will probe risks to banks from higher rates
The Bank of Japan is expected to make its first rate hike since 2007 within a few months, raising the possibility that borrowers will struggle with higher interest payments.
Noriyuki Sato, head of asset management at Mizuho Financial Group, says the bank plans to ramp up its expansion into private markets.
BUSINESS / Companies
Jan 18, 2024
Mizuho considers U.S. deal to supercharge private markets growth
The lender’s $460 billion money-management arm is considering buying a stake in a U.S. or European firm specializing in alternative investments.
The Tokio Marine & Nichido Building in the Marunouchi district of Tokyo
BUSINESS / Companies
Dec 26, 2023
Japan penalizes biggest property insurers for price fixing
The Financial Services Agency has issued business improvement orders on the core units of Tokio Marine, MS&AD Insurance and Sompo.
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group’s CEO Jun Ohta died Saturday. He was 65.
BUSINESS / Companies
Nov 27, 2023
Sumitomo Mitsui CEO Jun Ohta, who pushed Asia expansion, dies at 65
Ohta’s well-being attracted attention when he missed an earnings briefing earlier this month, with the bank citing health reasons.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group is exploring more investments in mid- and late-stage tech startups, seeing room for expansion into a field that historically was shunned by relatively conservative giant lenders.
BUSINESS / Companies
Nov 22, 2023
Top Japanese bank builds startup fund as policy push lures lenders
Mars Growth Capital, co-run by Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, now has around 40 to 50 potential investment deals for its recently launched equity fund.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group announced a $2.6 billion share buyback program after fiscal second-quarter profit tripled.
BUSINESS
Nov 14, 2023
Japan’s largest banks to buy back shares after profits soar
Japan’s biggest banks have unveiled plans to boost shareholder returns after posting record first-half profits, thanks in part to a cheaper yen.
Mizuho Financial Group will raise its stake in Rakuten Securities to nearly 50%.
BUSINESS / Companies
Nov 9, 2023
Mizuho said to raise Rakuten Securities stake to almost 50%
The banking group plans to increase its investment in Rakuten’s online securities arm, which isn’t proceeding with an initial public offering for now.
Kyoto Financial Group's early bets on Nintendo and other Kyoto-based startups are now bringing huge gains to the regional bank.
BUSINESS / Companies
Nov 3, 2023
Early bets on Nintendo and Nidec yield big gains for Kyoto bank
Kyoto Financial Group has equity holdings worth almost ¥903 billion thanks to investments made decades ago.
Notification of a system glitch is posted at MUFG Bank's Ueno branch in Tokyo's Taito Ward on Oct. 10.
BUSINESS / Companies
Oct 18, 2023
Compensation to be given over Japan payments clearing system glitch
Zengin-Net, the system’s operator, said member banks will reimburse customers for extra fees and penalties incurred.
Signage for Japan's top banks, MUFG Bank, Mizuho Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking in Tokyo.
BUSINESS / Companies
Oct 12, 2023
Japan’s top banks pay women about half of what men earn
The country has a relatively high labor participation rate for women, but many of the positions they occupy have little prospect of better pay.
Fumitaka Nakahama, Head of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group's global corporate and investment banking business, speaks in an interview in Tokyo on Sept. 7.
BUSINESS / Companies
Sep 13, 2023
MUFG battles private equity and startups to hire U.S. bankers
MUFG is plowing more resources into the American market in a bid to grow alongside established powerhouses.
Mizuho Financial Group has been expanding its presence in the United States to tap the world’s biggest fee pool, becoming one of the four global investment banks leading Arm's IPO.
BUSINESS / Companies
Sep 8, 2023
Mizuho's SoftBank ties boost Wall Street ambitions via Arm IPO
The bank has been expanding its presence in the U.S. to tap the world’s biggest fee pool, even as deals slump globally following the pandemic.
The Financial Services Agency said in its annual policy guidance that overseas real estate is among the credit risks to watch this year and that it will assess major banks' "situation of loans” made in this sector.
BUSINESS
Aug 30, 2023
Japan regulator to evaluate banks’ commercial property exposure
Commercial real estate has become one of the highest-profile asset classes hit by rapid rate hikes.
Nippon Life Insurance headquarters in Osaka. Japanese insurers are seeking more investments in private credit, attracted to their floating interest rates as global borrowing costs jump.
BUSINESS / Companies
Aug 18, 2023
Private credit boom attracts Japan insurers with $2.6 trillion
Dai-ichi Life Insurance and Nippon Life Insurance are among companies that are seeking more investments in private credit.
The BOJ’s monetary easing has kept the benchmark yield on 10-year JGBs below 1% for over a decade, and most traders have never experienced a major surge in rates that would put them at risk of large writedowns.
BUSINESS
Aug 16, 2023
Traders who survived the 1980s become must-have hires in Japan
With the benchmark yield on 10-year JGBs below 1% for over a decade, most traders have never experienced a surge in rates that would put them at risk.

Longform

Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin,” once the victim of high waves that dragged it into the sea, sits at the end of a pier on the south side of Naoshima.
Why is the most exciting art in Japan so hard to get to?