Aiming for foreigners

Author: | Published: 1 Oct 2009

Rachel Evans
Asia editor

In downturns the natural instinct of companies, investors and regulators is to retrench and protect. Japan has different tactics. International investors have run scared, causing foreign direct investment to drop by 63% in the first half of the year (compared to the same period in 2008). And at the corporate level, there are now only 15 foreign companies on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. But Japan is not turning in on itself.

Rather, the Tokyo Stock Exchange has chosen this moment of upheaval to launch an initiative to bring international investors and issuers back to Japan.

While foreign investment has gradually increased in recent years, the number of foreign companies on the Tokyo Stock Exchange peaked at 127 in 1991. There has been steady decline since then. So the TSE has launched a new professionals market with flexible, foreigner-friendly regulation to try and boost Japan's international reputation as...