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Two decades on, Japan's megabanks still a long way from profitability

Speedier restructuring needed to tackle negative interest rates, high costs

A Mizuho Bank sign is seen in front of sign for Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group in Tokyo, on Jan. 25, 2017.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- It has been 20 years since Japan's financial system collapsed in 1997, following the bankruptcy of Hokkaido Takushoku Bank and the closure of Yamaichi Securities in November that year.

While the scale of nonperforming loans -- the very source of financial instability -- has fallen significantly, Japan's three megabanks Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Mizuho Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group still have a long way to go on their path to reform -- and profitability.

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