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Recognition versus disclosure of finance leases: Evidence from Japan

Masaki Kusano

Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 2019, vol. 46, issue 1-2, 159-182

Abstract: This study examines whether credit market participants—bond investors and credit rating agencies—treat recognized and disclosed finance leases differently when assessing firms’ credit risk in Japan. I use firms’ credit risk, measured by bond spreads and credit ratings, to investigate the relations between recognized versus disclosed finance lease obligations and firms’ credit risk following the adoption of Statement No. 13, Accounting Standard for Lease Transactions. For a sample of firms issuing new bonds, I find that, unlike recognized finance leases, disclosed finance leases are not associated with bond spreads. Moreover, the associations between recognized versus disclosed finance leases and bond spreads are substantially different. Conversely, recognized and disclosed finance leases are associated with credit ratings and are processed similarly when credit ratings are determined. Taken together, my results suggest that the sophistication of capital market participants influences their credit risk assessments of recognized versus disclosed finance leases.

Date: 2019
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Journal of Business Finance & Accounting is currently edited by P. F. Pope, A. W. Stark and M. Walker

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