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Japan: Tokyo AIM still seeks first listing

Exchange offers relaxed requirements; Risk-averse banks creating bottleneck

More than a year after its official launch, Tokyo AIM has not listed a single company, despite intensive pitching in Japan and worldwide. The exchange, set up as a joint venture between the London Stock Exchange and the Tokyo Stock Exchange, was designed to mimic London’s Alternative Investment Market in providing a venue for professionals to invest in growth companies with more relaxed listing requirements than on the main board.

Tokyo AIM received its licence from the ­Financial Services Agency in May 2009, and began operations on June 1 that year, but Japan’s depressed equities markets and the reluctance of any issuer to step forward as the first candidate for listing have left it floundering.

Adviser bottleneck

Tokyo AIM chief executive Tetsutaro Muraki

"Foreign firms can look at Japan now and say: ‘They have finally done something interesting’"

Tetsutaro Muraki, Tokyo AIM

Tokyo AIM chief executive Tetsutaro Muraki, however, remains upbeat and says that the exchange’s two shareholders expected the board to take some time to get going. "There are a lot of companies that want to use Tokyo AIM," he says, "and many investors who are willing to look at these companies.

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