Japanese Firms Face Trade Center Losses With PM-Trade Center Explosion, Bjt
TOKYO (AP) _ Nearly 40 Japanese companies, mostly banks and brokerages, have offices in New York’s World Trade Center and are rushing to set up emergency offices to stem losses at an important hub.
The 110-story twin towers will be closed for at least a week for repairs.
Officials at the Tokyo headquarters of several major financial firms said they would to conduct business as usual today, with slight impact to currency and stock dealings. Medium-size and smaller firms expected more difficulty.
A few Japanese were reported lightly injured in Friday’s blast, which killed five people and injured 1,000.
Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, the world’s largest, said it would use its emergency backup computer system in New Jersey to handle clerical business. The bank has reserved an office in midtown Manhattan for other banking operations.
But a Dai-Ichi Kangyo official who spoke on condition of anonymity said, ″In foreign exchange dealings, I’m afraid we will be affected.″
The bank may try to minimize the damage by using its New Jersey computer system for currency dealings, but its capacity is limited, the official said.
Sumitomo Bank, Japan’s third largest, said it had reserved a room in a hotel near the Trade Center. But some of its foreign exchange dealings will be handled by its five other U.S. subsidiaries.
None of the banks contacted by The Associated Press would put a dollar estimate on their expected losses.
The only major Japanese brokerage in the Trade Center, Yamaichi Securities Co., said its 245 employees would split up and work at 16 temporary offices in Manhattan, some rented from U.S. banks.
Medium-size regional banks and securities firms will have to struggle without the backup communications systems set up by larger institutions like Dai-Ichi Kangyo and Sumitomo.
Staff at the smaller banks said they were handling money transfers and other services manually at headquarters in Tokyo.
″We can’t help slowing down the pace of business. We’ll have to limit operations to the very minimum,″ said Shohei Morikawa, a spokesman for Hokuriku Bank, Japan’s third largest regional bank.
″And we may also have to shift some work to our London and Hong Kong branches,″ he said.
Morikawa said the bank would rent space from another Japanese bank in New York, and use the home fax and telephone lines of its 28 New York employees in emergencies.