The tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster that hit Japan in 2011 does not seem to have affected its banks too dramatically, though its largest lender has been passed by two Chinese banks in the overall Top 1000 ranking.


The strength of Japan’s banks has recently been overshadowed by the more exciting growth story of China’s rising dominance in the Top 1000 rankings. And despite the country suffering the impact of the earthquake that hit its north-east in March 2011 – and the subsequent nuclear disaster – the country’s banks have performed well in this year’s rankings. Last year’s rankings did not reflect any impact of the disasters as the data was taken from the end of March 2011, the same month as the earthquake.

While the impact of the disaster will continue to manifest itself, the steady performance of Japan’s banks in the Top 1000 has been better than many would have expected. This year, Japan has 103 banks in the Top 1000, an increase of only one bank on the 2011 ranking. This compares to China which has 110 banks in the rankings. 

China has been increasingly challenging Japan’s position as the leading Asia-Pacific country in the Top 1000 ranking in recent years, and this year the highest ranked Japanese bank has been overtaken by its Chinese counterparts for the first time. Last year, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group was the highest ranking Asian bank in the world, in fifth place after Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase, HSBC and Citigroup. Now, however, China's ICBC is in third position, China Construction Bank is in sixth, and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group has been pushed down the ranking into seventh place.

The next Japanese banks in the global rankings are Mizuho Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, in 16th and 17th places, respectively, switching positions from the 2011 ranking. There is a large difference between these two players – with respective Tier 1 capital of $77.88bn and $76.38bn – and Mitsubishi UFJ, which has a Tier 1 capital more than 1.5 times larger at $117.02bn. 


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