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Coronavirus persuades house of Nomura and its peers to go digital

Japan's tradition-bound brokerages rethink branch-based in-person consultations

Nomura and other Japanese securities giants realize their sales traditions need a makeover but are unsure how much of one.

TOKYO -- Japan Inc. is crawling out of the nation's state of emergency, but the search for a new normal is barely under way at Nomura, Japan's top brokerage house, where the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need to adapt a more digital model to keep pace with nimbler rivals.

Some of its branches resumed operations last Tuesday, two days after the government decided to lift the state of emergency for nonmetropolitan regions. But concerns linger over whether customers will come back. Face-to-face consultations had long been a hallmark of Japan's vaunted brokerage services.

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