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Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi

Nomura Securities

Mizuho Securities

Morgan Stanley

Japan's economy continues its slow path to recovery, but the domestic banking sector continues to limp along with little sign of meaningful restructuring save for government-directed mergers. In a bleak domestic banking sector, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, part of the Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group, shows some of the more encouraging signs of financial health and wins the best bank in Japan award on this merit alone.

BTM is a full service financial institution in Japan with 248 branches that offers retail, commercial and corporate and investment banking products. Japan's largest bank by assets, BTM will become larger still if a planned merger with UFJ Bank proceeds, as seems likely. Even so, BTM is already a massive operation, with $800 billion of total assets and an equity base of $33 billion. Unlike many of its domestic competitors, it is also profitable, with net interest revenue in respect of fiscal 2004 of $7.8 billion and net income of $4.6 billion.

With a return on average assets of just 0.6% and a cost-to-income ratio of a little more than 60%, BTM might seem more a laggard than a leader.

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