The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Voters sink Sogo’s lifeboat

The collapse of the Sogo department store, the largest bankruptcy of a non-financial corporation yet seen in Japan, is significant in two important ways. It shows the fragility of economic recovery. Persistently slow growth may leave many more Japanese companies at risk and the country’s banks may suffer more bad debts. Second, it shows the old conservative consensus breaking down. Shinsei Bank, the old LTCB under new American ownership, refused to play along with a bank-led bail-out. And when politicians attempted a public rescue, an angry populace shouted it down. Painful corporate restructuring is at hand, reports Kevin Rafferty

Author: Kevin Rafferty

Elvis lives! Well, on closer examination, it is not the King himself, but several younger Asian reincarnations jiving up and down to the blaring music of Elvis Presley on a hot summer Sunday afternoon. Their eyes squint against the sun and sweat makes their trademark quiffs glisten with a shine the King would have envied. Elvis sightings have been reported all over the world, but none are as strange as these in Harajuku, not least because it is literally a stone's throw from Omotesando, once of Tokyo's swankiest shopping streets.

Just 50 metres away from the Elvis prince-lings, more than a hundred young girls are conducting their own anti-fashion parade. In the boiling heat, most of them are dressed in heavy black drapes and wearing thick white make-up. Their accessories are individually kitschy, including silver teardrop eyelashes, cutesy lacey parasols, clumpy platform shoes, Fishnet stockings, feather boas, bright red and orange hair, but together they are outrageously over the top and as far removed from the image of conformist dark-suited and booted Japan as it would be possible to devise.

These girls are mere teenagers, the oldest 15 or 16 and some of them only 12, the age when traditionally Japanese children spent their time with their heads buried in their schoolbooks.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree