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Awards for excellence - Japan

Best bank:

not awarded

Best equity house:

Nikko Salomon Smith Barney

Best debt house:


Best M&A house:

Goldman Sachs

With a banking sector in as dire a state as Japan's, no bank deserves the best bank award. Banks that are strong in one area are fundamentally flawed in others. And big doesn't equate to best.

Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group appears to be dealing with its bad assets but it posted an impressive loss of over ¥120 billion ($968 million). Sumitomo Mitsui has profit streams but many remain unsure about its non-performing loans. And while Mizuho and its retail operation is spoken of in terms of potential, it is by no means there yet. Some believe Sumitomo's management is the most impressive, but other observers attribute this to better presentation skills making them look better. After all it's just about putting a thin rosy sheet over a big black hole. When the NPL situation will be cleared up is anyone's guess. Judging on past experience, not for a while. But perhaps Japan's new prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, does more than talk a good game, unlike his predecessors.

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