The Tokyo Stock Exchange will urge its listed companies to make available to investors shares for less than 500,000 yen, TSE officials said Monday.

The move is intended to make it easier for individual investors to buy shares, thereby stimulating stock trading and improving the market environment.

The TSE plans to have the regulatory changes put into effect by October. The bourse is expected to discuss the issue and make a decision Thursday at an extraordinary board meeting, they said.

Under the proposed measure, companies will be encouraged to split stocks or reduce minimum trading units if investors need to spend over 500,000 yen to buy their shares, they said. Although termed a recommendation from the TSE, it is practically a requirement, they said.

The minimum trading unit is usually 1,000 shares for a stock whose face value is 50 yen.

The Osaka Securities Exchange, other regional bourses and the Japan Securities Dealers Association, which runs the Jasdaq over-the-counter market, are expected to follow suit.

Of the approximately 2,000 companies listed on the TSE, there are currently about 600 issues for which investors need to spend at least 500,000 yen to buy shares.

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