The severe effects of the global financial crisis on the Japanese economy have led to the adoption of temporary legislation to protect small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mortgage borrowers. Among other things, the law provides that SMEs and mortgage borrowers may apply to financial institutions to revise their loan terms; lenders are required to help and advise borrowers in good faith.
In light of the widely recognized need to promote financing for small businesses, new legislation has introduced a system for electronic monetary claims. Such claims are intended to accelerate accounts receivable financing, but they have many other potential uses, including the liquidation of syndicated loans and the stabilization of cash management systems.
The Ministry of Justice has published a draft reform of the Law of Obligations, part of the Civil Code. The draft reform covers a wide range of topics, including several which could have a significant impact on banking practice: set-off, prescription, the assignment of claims and joint and several obligations.
An amendment to the Ordinance on the Enforcement of Banking Law is the first provision in Japanese law that clearly allows a subsidiary of a bank or a bank holding company to conduct Islamic finance. It covers transactions that are loan transactions in substance, but not in form, including murabaha and ijara - both forms of financing for purchase or rental.
The securities settlement system has been improved to enable paperless transactions in commercial paper, government bonds and corporate bonds in Japan. This update reviews the new book-entry transfer system for paperless shares in listed companies and the handling of security interests in such stock in secured financial transactions.