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Finance

How many banks are there in Japan?

Japan’s banking system: Tokyo Banks, Trust Banks, Foreign Banks, Regional Banks – and The Bank of Japan

by Gerhard Fasol

Japan’s banking system. Number of banks via the Ministry of Finance registration and the Japanese Bankers Association

We are often asked, how many banks there are in Japan, when discussing possibilities for obtaining finance. Here we answer this question via two methods:

  • registration with the Ministry of Finance: 198 as of July 1, 2013
  • membership of the Japanese Bankers Association: 251 as of Sept 1, 2020

Banks in Japan need a license, therefore all Banks are registered, and details are published, there is a straight answer to this question: 198 + 1 (as of July 1, 2013).

Note that Japan’s banking sector is consolidating, especially regional banks, so there is some change over time.

Via registration with the Ministry of Finance (as of July 1, 2013):

198 (as of July 1, 2013) + The Bank of Japan

How many banks in Japan? – Detailed answer:

Total number of banks in Japan = 198 (as of July 1, 2013) (not including The Bank of Japan)

Since a banking license is required, the number, names, addresses etc of all banks of Japan are easy to find.

For historic reasons the number of banks in Japan is quite large, and the Bank of Japan and the Government of Japan have mentioned recently, that they consider the number of banks too large, and consolidation of local banks is under consideration.

Bank of Japan

Not included in the listing above is the Bank of Japan.

The Bank of Japan is the central Bank of Japan, and has three main responsibilities:

  • issue bank notes (not the yen coins, the coins are minted by the Mint of Japan)
  • carry out currency and monetary control
  • act as settlement banks between all Japanese banks: “to ensure smooth settlement of funds among banks and other financial institutions, thereby contributing to the maintenance of stability of the financial system.”

Via membership of the Japanese Bankers Association (251)

  • Full members (117)
    • City Banks (5)
    • Regional Banks (64)
    • Members of the Second Association of Regional Banks (38)
    • Trust Banks (4)
    • Foreign Banks (2)
    • Other Banks (4)
  • Bank Holding Company Members (3)
  • Associate Members (72)
    • Trust Banks (9)
    • Foreign Banks (51)
    • Other Banks (10)
    • Bank Holding Company (2)
  • Special Members (58) (regionally based bankers associations)
  • Sub-associate members (1)
    • Japan Post Bank

Total: 251

Trends and consolidation

As a consequence of the Japanese banking crisis following the “crash of the bubble”, many Japanese banks were in difficulties resulting in a wave of mergers of Japan’s mega-banks – as a consequence, three top banks were created:

  • Mizuho Financial Group (blue)
  • Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) (red)
  • Mitsui Sumitomo Financial Group (green)

Regional banks are increasingly under pressure as local economies stagnate and contract, winners and losers emerge, and we expect waves of mergers among mid-sized and small-sized local banks.

Emerging new banks

With the development of fintech and online banks we see new giants emerge, examples are Rakuten Bank, and others.

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