Economy, Government Role in the Economy
Nippon Telephone, NHK, Big Bang, NTT, Japanese government
Government ownership of business enterprises is very low in Japan. Since the early 1980s, the government has steadily sold off the few big enterprises that it did own, such as Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT) and Japan National Railway (JNR). It still owns the major television network, Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK).
In banking, the government plays a big role. In 1996 one-quarter of all banking assets were in Japanís government-controlled postal savings system, in which post offices accept deposits into various types of savings accounts. Postal savings are turned over to the MOFís Trust Fund Bureau, which lends the money to businesses.
In addition, through extensive formal regulations as well as administrative guidance, government ministries influence private business activities. Japanese policymakers began calling for deregulation of sectors including telecommunications and transportation, and the Japanese government launched a series of moves to deregulate banks. Most of the banking reforms, known as the Big Bang, were completed by 2001, and other reforms were subsequently implemented to further deregulate financial markets.
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