Osaka launches campaign to become new financial center in Asia

Officials and business leaders in Osaka Prefecture set up a 30-member group Monday to promote the city as a new international financial center in Asia.

The move comes in line with the central government’s efforts to boost Japan’s standing in global finance at a time when China’s imposition last year of a national security law and tightening of its grip on Hong Kong sparked concerns about the semiautonomous territory’s status as a major financial center.

Osaka joins Tokyo and Fukuoka as among prefectures to which the central government aims to bring capital, financial institutions and professionals from around the world.

Tokyo and Fukuoka, southwestern Japan, each set up a similar promotional organization in November and September, respectively.

On Monday, the Osaka promotion group held its inaugural meeting and elected Masayoshi Matsumoto, chairman of the Kansai Economic Federation, as its head and also elected about 30 leaders from the public and private sectors as members.

They agreed to compile a concrete strategy after drawing up an interim blueprint around September, according to participants.

Osaka has Japan’s first integrated bourse for stocks and commodity futures. The unprecedented all-day system outage at the Tokyo Stock Exchange last year has given supporters of Osaka a reason to push the area as an alternative to Tokyo.

While higher taxes and language barriers are often cited as making Japan less attractive than other Asian rivals, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has promised to change that at the parliament in October.

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