Tokyo Diary 2

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In Tokyo for this week's Financial Information Summit, Inside Reference Data editor Michael Shashoua looks at how the country's March disaster is reshaping business continuity planning. This is a second entry of a diary about Tokyo data and market operations trends

In conversations today with IT executives for Tokyo firms, the repercussions for their operations from the March earthquake and tsunami disaster are still being felt. Most firms are reconsidering their IT plans as a result, and the government is considering new requirements as well.

The biggest pitfall for any idea that could bolster disaster recovery is networks, says an IT analyst for a major bank here. Some firms have considered cloud computing as a way to have important operations performed independently of in-house and on-site systems, but realize that if networking is disrupted in a disaster, cloud capabilities become moot. Similarly, firms may have self-sustaining energy sources as back-ups in case outside power supplies are disrupted. Again, without a working network, it won't matter if a firm has its own power to conduct operations.

Outside of the networking issues and their effect, firms may find solutions such as locating processing in other countries or parts of the world. Another factor could be government audits, which would stem from the fact that commercial banking in Japan ended up with numerous double or triple payments. Disbursement of funds to clients in the emergency of the disaster were not properly recorded, so some found they could go back and claim non-receipt of funds, and receive double or triple the cash they have or are entitled to. This has been mostly a commercial and retail banking issue, but it is causing regulators to look more closely at corporate finance and securities operations in the event of a disaster.

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