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Japanese Turning Cold Shoulder To Globex: Report

September 29, 1989

CHICAGO (AP) _ Japan’s government is trying to keep Japanese companies from participating in a global futures trading network being developed by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, according to published reports.

The Ministry of Finance fears that when the Merc’s system, called Globex, begins operating later this year, Japanese firms will forsake Tokyo’s fledgling futures markets to trade financial futures on Globex, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday.

The Japanese news service Nikkei Telecom reported last week that the ministry had persuaded Mitsui Trust & Banking Co. to withdraw its application to install Globex terminals.

An employee at Mitsui’s New York branch said no one was available Thursday to comment on the reports.

Chicago Merc spokeswoman Julie Jacobs said the exchange’s position had not changed since Friday, when spokesman Andrew Yemma had denied any knowledge of the finance ministry’s discouraging Globex participation.

″Indeed, all our information is quite to the contrary,″ Yemma said. ″It sounds like pure speculation.″

Nick Ronalds, deputy managing director of the Merc’s Tokyo office, said the Merc had heard nothing official from the finance ministry, which has been studying Globex for more than a year.

″We’ve provided them with all the information and we are still waiting for their response,″ he said.

Globex, designed to facilitate global, 24-hour futures trading, would be weakened without the participation of the Japanese, who opened their own futures markets in June.

One of those markets, the Tokyo International Financial Futures Exchange, offers Eurodollar futures, which are widely used by institutional investors for hedging international investments.

Eurodollar futures are the Merc’s most popular product, and they will likely be offered for trading on Globex.

The Tribune quoted an unidentified Tokyo-based U.S. trade official as saying the finance ministry’s intervention represented ″another example of the mighty hammer of Japanese bureaucracy crashing down on the concept of free trade.″