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Tuesday, November 25, 1997 Published at 09:25 GMT

World: Monitoring

Japan securities commission begins Yamaichi probe
image: [ Investors queue outside Yamaichi branch ]
Investors queue outside Yamaichi branch

Japan's Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission began an investigation into Yamaichi Securities on Tuesday to determine the amount of liabilities the major brokerage kept off its balance sheets, commission sources said.

Kyodo news agency said the investigations, which are being conducted jointly with Finance Ministry's inspectors, were intended to determine if the brokerage conducted illegal transactions that led to off-the-book liabilities totalling 264.8 billion yen, the sources said.

If any irregularities are found, the commission will recommend that the ministry penalise Yamaichi and may even file a criminal complaint with prosecutors, the sources said.

The agency said Yamaichi's off-the-books liabilities were believed to have been generated as part of an arrangement to prevent favoured clients from registering losses on their stockholdings.

Customers flock to Yamaichi, government to help workers find jobs

Customers of Yamaichi Securities flocked to the brokerage's branches throughout Japan on Tuesday, Kyodo news agency reported.

It said some 100 investors waited for the branch office to open in Sapporo, while the same number waited in line at the Fukuoka branch. At the Nagoya branch, 500 tickets were given out to keep the customers in order, but some 70 investors had to wait outdoors.

In a separate report, the agency quoted Labour Minister Bummei Ibuki as saying the government would help 7,500 Yamaichi employees find new jobs.

Ibuki said it was also possible the government would "provide subsidies for its affiliates to maintain employment".

He said the Labour Ministry would hold talks with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, and the Finance Ministry to share information on the Yamaichi case.

BBC Monitoring (, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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