Steps to amend the Securities and Exchange Law will be submitted to the upcoming Diet session so that profits made by brokerages through shady means such as market manipulation can be confiscated, Finance Minister Hiroshi Mitsuzuka said Tuesday.The proposed revision is part of the ministry’s package of measures to contain excessive fluctuations in stock prices. It also includes items to clamp down on short-selling and keep a closer watch on illegal tactics such as the spread of baseless rumors to manipulate the market.Mitsuzuka told an evening news conference that, since November, the prices of certain issues have shown excessive movement based on various information, causing great volatility in the market as a whole. The period coincided with the collapse of major financial institutions such as Yamaichi Securities Co. and Hokkaido Takushoku Bank, which sparked widespread rumors regarding the creditworthiness of several financial firms.Many of those targeted by the market gossip saw their stock prices tumble and were forced to hold news conferences to assure that their operations were healthy. “In order to create a fair and transparent market, proper action needs to be taken against market manipulation and other unfair practices that threaten pricing mechanisms,” Mitsuzuka said.Tuesday’s package also calls on bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission, the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the Japan Securities Dealers Association to take steps to assure a more intensive screening of transactions and to raise the industry’s self-imposed penalty for illegal transactions.

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