The Japan Exchange Group (JPX) is moving ahead gradually with its concept of introducing a listed infrastructure market in Japan, according to updated plans published this week.
Since 2012, a Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) 'Study Group on the Listed Infrastructure Market' has been examining the underlying issues and thinking about what preparations are needed. By 2015, the intention is to establish rules and realise new infrastructure listings, with one ambition being to encourage infrastructure privatisation in the country.
It now forms part of the JPX's two-year medium-term development plan to establish a market that competes for business with Asia's current platforms for listed infrastructure.
That includes listed infrastructure funds and plays in South Korea, which include Incheon and Pusan airports; Thailand, where the Bangkok Mass Transit railway (Skytrain) is listed; and Australia, where a number of funds are listed covering activities from power generation to water utilities.
Another big infrastructure market in Asia is that in Singapore, where infrastructure and business trusts are listed. Among assets on the Singapore Exchange are both Singapore's seaport and coastal facilities.
Elsewhere in the world, there are listed infrastructure markets on the New York Stock Exchange, and in the UK, Canada and New Zealand.
Eligible candidates in Japan are assessed as being listed infrastructure funds, listed infrastructure trusts and foreign funds. New rules are needed for all categories, and at this stage, these are not in a detailed form, beyond a statement of intention that investors have to be protected, risks have to be addressed and information disclosure systems have to be built by listed entities.
Japan already has an active J-REIT market, and the new plans for eligibility are being formulated so that assets in the proposed infrastructure market do not co-mingle with the existing J-REIT arrangements.
JPX was formed from the merger of the TSE and the Osaka Securities Exchange at the start of 2013.