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Tokyo Stock Exchange Plans to Resume Normal Trading Hours in a Few Months


Asia's largest stock market says it should have new computers by May to handle increased trading volume. And there are more woes for troubled Internet company Livedoor - whose stock sell-off in January overwhelmed the Tokyo exchange and forced it to cut back trading hours. Those stories and more in our weekly look at Japanese business news from VOA's Steve Herman in Tokyo.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange says it plans to resume normal trading hours no later than May.

The bourse began cutting 30 minutes from its daily trading session in mid-January - after news of a criminal investigation into the publicly listed Internet company, Livedoor, sparked a massive sell-off that overwhelmed the exchange's computers. New computers should be in place within months.

Meanwhile, Tokyo Stock Exchange President Taizo Nishimuro is hinting Livedoor maybe delisted.

Nishimuro says if prosecutors' charges look credible, or if it is evident that there were legal violations, that would mean the exchange's rules for listing have been breached.

Livedoor founder Takafumi Horie and three other former company executives faced additional fraud charges Wednesday for overstating profits.

Livedoor's new president, Kozo Hiramatsu, is again apologizing for the company's alleged criminal behavior. Hiramatsu says under Horie's leadership the company appeared to lack a social conscience.

For the first time in six months, the Japanese government, in its monthly report, gave an upbeat assessment noting healthy export numbers, strong domestic output and robust private consumption.

Despite the chilly political climate, trade ties between Japan and China continue to be hot. The Japan External Trade Organization reports trade between the two Asian economic giants grew for the seventh consecutive year to a record high of $189 billion in 2005.

For the first time imports to Japan surpassed $100 billion as Japanese continue to purchase Chinese computers, printers, other office equipment and portable music players.

The trade report contends that the revaluation of China's currency and last year's anti-Japanese protests in several Chinese cities had little impact on bilateral trade.

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