Japanese Banks Announce Alliance

Share prices soared on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Friday after three Japanese banks announced an alliance that would create the world's largest banking group.

The presidents of Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, the Industrial Bank of Japan and Fuji Bank made the announcement, indicating that the alliance would produce a banking giant with more than $1 trillion in assets.

The alliance, to be implemented over the next two years, is seen as a way to help the Japanese banking industry find its way out of the worst crisis it has seen since World War II.

Analysts welcomed the long-overdue effort to deal with the realities of an overcrowded market, massive bad loans and low profit margins. However, some analysts were skeptical about whether size alone will help make the banks more competitive.

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