RIETI Policy Symposium

Japan's Financial System: Revisiting the Relationship between Corporations and Financial Institutions


There has been much discussion on the pros and cons of the role of financial institutions in corporate performance. On the one hand, there are those of the view that main banks have supported long-term strategy-based corporate management. On the other hand, financial institutions have been criticized for negatively impacting corporate management as they lost their risk-evaluation capabilities during the bubble era, and subsequently became reluctant to lend or continued zombie-lending.

Meanwhile, interest is increasing in the concept of relationship banking, which is said to create value-added through a tight relationship between corporations and financial institutions. This is the result of realization that this relationship should be reconstructed to overcome non-performing loan (NPL) problems and put the Japanese financial system back on the right track.

Currently, there are still numerous unanswered questions on how the firm-bank relationship affects corporate activities and the economy as a whole, and whether increasing competition among financial institutions and restructuring of the financial service sector benefit the borrowers. In particular, there is only limited analysis based on empirical evidence on SMEs which are still affected a great deal by their relationship with financial institutions, although there is conjecture based on individual case studies.

During the first part of the symposium (afternoon of February 16 and morning of February 17), consisting of four sessions, participants will discuss, based on RIETI's recent research results, the role of financial institutions during the life of a corporation from birth to exit/revitalization, and the structure of the indirect financing market. Discussion will be based on results of empirical analysis which made use of the recently developed database on SMEs. To this end, leading overseas researchers on banking will also join the discussion. During the second part (afternoon of February 17), Mr. Kazumasa IWATA, Vice-President of the Bank of Japan, will lecture on the financial system at large followed by a panel discussion to deepen the debate.

Through wide-ranging participation from practitioners to researchers, this symposium will seek to provide many insights into the future of Japan's financial system


  • Time and Date:
    Thursday, February 16, 2006, 13:30-17:10
    Friday, February 17, 2006, 9:00-17:00
  • Venue:
    Hall, Shinsei Bank (1st Floor, Head Office, 2-1-8 Uchisaiwaicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo)
  • Language:
    Japanese / English (with simultaneous interpretation)
  • Charge: ¥2,000 (an official receipt will be issued)
    (Student discount ¥1,000. Please present your student ID at the reception desk.)
  • Hosts: Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI)
  • Contact: RIETI
    KASAHARA Tomoko (Ms.) / KASE Tomoko (Ms.), (Tel: 03-3501-8398)

* Streaming video footage of and handouts pertaining to the symposium will be available for downloading from the RIETI website after the event.
* Purpose of Use of Images

Agenda [Thursday, February 16, 2006] 13:30-17:10

Conference Chair:
13:30-13:40 Opening Remarks:
13:40-15:20 Session 1: "The Workings of Relationship Banking - impact on capital procurement and corporate activity"
13:40-14:00 Presentation: "Relationship between interest rate and firm age"
14:00-14:20 Presentation: "Factors that influence the relationship between banks and SMEs"
14:20-14:40 Presentation: "Does main bank's health matter in firm customers' behavior?"
14:40-15:00 Comments
15:00-15:20 Discussion
15:20-15:30 Coffee Break
15:30-17:10 Session 2: "What to look for in credit complementarity of SMEs: the role of mortgage, guarantee and public lending facilities"
15:30-15:50 Presentation: "The role of collateral and personal guarantees in relationship lending: Evidence from Japan’s small business loan market"
15:50-16:10 Presentation: "Effectiveness of credit guarantees in the Japanese loan market"
16:10-16:30 Presentation: "How are loans by their main bank priced? Bank effects, information and non-price terms of contract"
16:30-16:50 Comments
16:50-17:10 Discussion
17:10-19:00 Reception

Agenda [Friday, February 17, 2006] 9:00-17:00

9:00-10:40 Session 3: "Is relational banking relevant for corporate revitalization? Cooperation among and respective roles of financial institutions, revitalization funds and public institutions"
9:00-9:20 Presentation: "Bank-Firm relationship and choices in legal bankruptcy proceedings of SMEs"
9:20-9:40 Presentation: "Relationship between regional revitalization funds and regional financial institutions"
9:40-10:00 Presentation: "Policy deployment and the role of regional financial institution in SME revitalization"
10:00-10:20 Comments
10:20-10:40 Discussion
10:40-10:50 Coffee Break
10:50-12:30 Session 4: "Is the market for indirect financing competitive? Impact of the restructuring of financial institutions"
10:50-11:10 Presentation: "Financial institutions and contestability of the financial market"
11:10-11:30 Presentation: "Consolidation of cooperative (shinkin) banks in Japan: Causes and consequences"
11:30-11:50 Presentation: "Effects of bank mergers and acquisitions on small business lending"
11:50-12:10 Comments
12:10-12:30 Discussion
12:30-13:30 Lunch
13:30-14:30 Presentation: "Future of the Japanese Financial System"
14:30-14:50 Coffee Break
14:50-16:50 Panel Discussion: "A Wish List for the Japanese Financial System - what is it lacking?"
16:50-17:00 Closing Remarks:
* The agenda is subject to change.