Japanese FSA: Playing a whole new ball game
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Japanese FSA: Playing a whole new ball game

The financial playing field in Japan is as loaded against the foreigner as baseball is there. That’s the message sent out by recent disciplinary actions against foreign securities houses. But the dynamics are more complex. The new Financial Supervisory Authority needs to show who’s boss. And historically there have been more constraints on Japanese than foreign firms. Kevin Rafferty reports

Author: Kevin Rafferty

He stood more than two metres tall, his muscles rippling under his pyjama-like suit, a living advertisement to athletic prowess as he twirled his bat like a club, a giant threatening to smite the mere mortals around him. His intent was more pacific as he crouched, eyes wide open, and lifted the bat ready to smash the ball out of the park. The pitcher, a slender figure, waited, watched the signals coming from the catcher, coiled, then released the pitch, way wide of the reach of the batter, who watched as the ball sailed half a metre wide of the strike box chalked on the ground. “Strike,” yelled the umpire behind the catcher. The next ball was almost as wide, but the batter reached out and hit it with a top edge to send it soaring into the crowd in foul territory. “Strike two,” the umpire pointed. The next pitch would have hit high on the batter’s shoulder if he had not ducked. The pitcher wound himself up and tossed another wide pitch, which the shell-shocked batter ignored. But not the umpire, who gesticulated and yelled “Strike three – Out!” followed by a roar of approval from the crowd at the departure of the visiting team’s American star player.

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