Regulator may hit Mizuho with improvement order

Japan's financial regulator is arranging to issue another business improvement order to Mizuho Financial Group and its banking unit in response to a series of system failures earlier this year. Mizuho plans to consider whether the group's president and CEO should resign.

Sources say the Financial Services Agency is making final arrangements to deliver the order to the group and Mizuho Bank after notifying them as early as next week of the results of an inspection into what caused the glitches.

The agency believes the group's President and CEO Sakai Tatsufumi bears heavy responsibility for the problems. It plans to urge Mizuho to clarify his management responsibility.

Mizuho plans to convene a committee of outside directors to discuss management responsibility, including whether Sakai and other officials should step down.

Mizuho Bank experienced system trouble eight times between February and September.

In February, bank cards and passbooks became stuck inside ATMs, forcing customers to wait for hours to retrieve them.

In August, over-the-counter transactions temporarily became unavailable at about 520 branches nationwide, including ones operated by Mizuho Trust & Banking, another group unit.

The agency slapped a business improvement order on Mizuho in September to prevent a recurrence.

If issued, the expected business improvement order would be the fourth for system trouble at Mizuho, following ones in 2002, 2011 and September this year.