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'Gateway to Asia' Fukuoka enters race to become next financial hub

Japanese city sees opportunity in uncertainty surrounding Hong Kong

Fukuoka's Canal City Hakata, one of the southwestern Japanese city's most famous shopping centers, is lit up for the Christmas season. (Photo by Masaru Shioyama)

FUKUOKA, Japan -- This southwestern Japan city, which has raised its profile as an Asian tourist destination in recent years, has kicked off an effort to compete with Tokyo as an alternative financial hub to Hong Kong.

The heads of major local corporations joined hands with academic and political leaders on Tuesday to form Team Fukuoka, an organization with a goal of attracting financial institutions and other multinationals to Fukuoka Prefecture on the southwestern island of Kyushu.

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