* System troubles continue from Monday night
* Up to 126 bln yen salary transfer likely disrupted on
* Glitches have already disrupted 650 bln yen worth
settlements by Thurs
* Internet banking, ATM ops to be suspended until Mar 21
(Adds details, background)
By Mariko Katsumura
TOKYO, March 18 Japan's Mizuho Financial Group
warned Friday that nearly $10 billion worth of transactions
could be disrupted by the failure of its computer systems after
last week's devastating earthquake, hobbling basic banking
services for businesses and millions of Japanese.
Mizuho, Japan's second-largest bank by assets, said its
automatic teller machines, which first showed signs of trouble
on Thursday, would be disabled until March 21. Internet banking
services would also be down until that date.
Malfunctioning systems have already disrupted a total
500,000 settlements worth 650 billion yen in the past three
days, causing delays in salary payments and preventing customers
from withdrawing cash.
The system glitches coincide with an increased use of ATM
and other services as consumers try to stock up on food and
supplies, reflecting fears over radiation leaked from a
quake-hit nuclear power plant.
"We are likely to see this kind of trouble again on March 25
and 31 when money transactions are expected to surge before the
end of this fiscal year," said Barclays Capital analyst Shin
"What they can do over this weekend would just be first-aid
kind of stuff and that is not a complete solution," he said.
Mizuho said that it would do everything to fix the glitch,
but added that it was unable to say by when.
"We've said that salary payments are an essential part of
our lives and that we would do everything to fix the problem by
today when many salary transactions are expected," Mizuho Bank's
president, Satoru Nishibori, told reporters.
"We are deeply sorry for the trouble and confusion caused by
Mizuho, which expects up to an additional 125.6 billion
yen's worth of salary payments to be interrupted on Friday, has
said the troubles were likely due to a concentration of
transactions at some unidentified branches. .
Japanese media have suggested that an overwhelming number of
donations sent to quake-hit victims and families might have
triggered the system troubles.
Branch offices across the country will remain open until ATM
and Internet service is restored and account holders who did not
receive their salary will be able to withdraw up to 100,000 yen
at a branch, Mizuho said.
Mizuho operated 5,622 ATMs and 440 branches in Japan as of
September, making it a key component of the Japanese financial
($1 = 78.855 Japanese Yen)
(Reporting by Mariko Katsumura; Editing by Nathan Layne)