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Japans new investment rules risk scaring off foreign investors

BUY MY ABENOMICS!, Shinzo Abe, Japans prime minister, pleaded to the New York Stock Exchange in 2013. As he lowered the drawbridge to foreign investors, that pitch seemed to work. Today overseas owners hold 30% of Japans TOPIX index of stocks and account for about 70% of the daily turnover on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE). But new rules threaten to reverse these trends. A proposed change to the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act, unveiled on October 8th, will lower the minimum stake foreigners can buy in many listed Japanese companies without prior government approval, from 10% to 1%. Other changes include requiring foreign directors to seek official permission before they sit on the boards of Japanese firms.
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