WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve Board has ruled that Japanese officials subject the Bank of Tokyo to "comprehensive supervision on a consolidated basis" - a legal requirement a foreign country must meet before its banks can open branches in the United States.

Paul S. Pilecki, a partner in Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge, said the Fed's Jan. 30 order applies only to $271.9 billion-asset Bank of Tokyo, which has applied to acquire the Chicago Tokyo Bank in Chicago.

"The question going forward is how the other (Japanese) banks might be able to rely on this decision," Mr. Pilecki said. "They might have to show that consolidated supervision applies to them because they are a different type of bank than the Bank of Tokyo," which is Japan's principal foreign exchange institution.

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