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Japanese reformers thwarted by status quo – and Yakuza Add to ...

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It’s the sort of news no political leader wants to hear: An influential banker appointed to a key economic panel is forced to resign when it turns out his institution was funnelling loans to a raft of criminals, and its former top executive knew about it. The banker in question, Yasuhiro Sato, CEO of Mizuho Financial Group, was among nine high-profile business executives selected by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to advise him on efforts to restructure the ailing economy. Doing business with what Mr. Sato and other Japanese officials call “anti-social forces” and everyone else calls the Yakuza was probably not on the list of possible options.

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