Press Conference by Taro Aso, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and Minister of State for Financial Services
(Tuesday, July 4, 2017, 11:24 am to 11:37 am)
I would like to inform you personnel changes among senior Financial Services Agency (FSA) officials. In terms of positions at the bureau chief level or higher, Kiyotaka Sasaki, the Secretary-General of the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission will become Vice Commissioner for Policy Coordination, and Tokio Morita, the current Vice Commissioner for Policy Coordination, will succeed Mr. Sasaki. Commissioner Nobuchika Mori, Ryozo Himino, Vice Minister for International Affairs, Yuichi Ikeda, Director-General of the Planning and Coordination Bureau, Hidenori Mitsui, Director-General of the Inspection Bureau, and Toshihide Endo, Director-General of the Supervisory Bureau, will all remain in their current posts.
[Questions and answers:]
The management integration between Fukuoka Financial Group, which operates Shinwa Bank in Nagasaki, and The Eighteenth Bank is being postponed once again from the target date of October. This has led me to imagine that the hurdle set by the Fair Trade Commission in terms of the share within the prefecture may have been higher than the two banks had assumed. The integration initiative based on the autonomous management decision making of the banks has been stalled in the name of fair trade. Please give your view on the reason or factor behind this situation.
As an official responsible for financial affairs, I'm not going to answer questions about specific issues related to specific banks. With that in mind, mergers between regional banks...what's the population of Nagasaki? Isn't it decreasing?
Three regional banks, three locals, and two plus one.
In that sense, the management environment [in the prefecture] is quite adverse, so it has been pointed out that there would have to be mergers between some of the banks there. And in discussions like this, you hear a lot about banks shuttering, terminating business, or closing branches because the management environment has become difficult or the population has shrunk and it has become impossible for them to maintain their business just by doing the things they have been doing. But as these functions are shut down, availability of banking services in the region is undermined. So basically, I think they have to think about maintaining availability of banking services for customers in their regions. With that in mind, as I believe the people at the Fair Trade Commission have indicated, transfers of debts may have been involved, but we at the FSA must refrain from commenting on that because it falls under the Fair Trade Commission's jurisdiction. In general, however, the biggest problem is when this may undermine the convenience of customers or inconvenience them considerably. So, we believe the most desirable thing is that this point is addressed and the [banks'] responses be monitored.
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