Japan to Open Entry Office for Foreign Firms to Rival Hong Kong

Japan is creating an office to make it easier for foreign asset managers to enter the country, part of its bid to challenge Hong Kong as Asia’s main financial hub.

The Financial Services Agency and local bureaus will establish a financial market entry office in January that handles registration and supervision in English for incoming asset management firms, the regulatorsaid Friday. Japan has been known for its largely non-English language working environment, which is seen as an obstacle to luring foreign companies.

“Strengthening Japan’s capabilities as an international financial center is our urgent priority,” Finance Minister Taro Aso said at a news conference. “We are making efforts to bring the center of Asia’s financial market from Hong Kong in light of the turmoil in the city.”

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Hong Kong’s political tension set off earlier this year by the passage of a Chinese national security law has made the city a key target for Japanese officials in their bid to attract overseas firms. Tokyo recently set up anoffice in Hong Kong to advise companies considering a move to the Japanese capital, while Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has signaled determination to tackle obstacles such as taxation.

The FSA said it will amend relevant regulations to allow firms to submit required documents in English. It plans to start offering preliminary consultation in English this month before setting up the financial market entry office in January.

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