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New college recruits gather for an orientation session at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking's Tokyo headquarters in 2016. (Photo by Yuichiro Takagi)
The Big Story

Shrinking to survive: Japan's banks face a quiet crisis

Thousands of positions at risk as online upstarts threaten bloated megabanks

MITSURU OBE, Nikkei staff writer | China

TOKYO -- "Welcome to our bank!" chime the three uniformed clerks as customers enter Mizuho Bank's branch in Tokyo's Tanashi neighborhood.

The friendly, highly experienced clerks stand ready to help customers fill in the various forms required to open an account, make a large withdrawal, transfer funds or take out a loan. Even in the digital age, such tasks can require plenty of time-consuming paperwork. To confirm their identity, customers are also required to present a hanko, or personal seal.

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