Japan shies away from radical banking reform

JAPAN - The government of Junichiro Koizumi, Japan's prime minister, on Wednesday night backed away from imminent action to clean up the financial system after pressure to water down proposals from bankers and from the ruling Liberal Democratic party.

In a package short on concrete details, the government said it would work with the Bank of Japan to halve the bad-loan ratio at big banks by 2004, the deadline by which it had in any case already promised to solve the non-performing loan problem,