Press Conference by Yoshimi Watanabe, Minister for Financial Services
April 15, 2008
[Opening Remarks by Minister Watanabe]
Good morning. Please ask me questions.
[Questions and Answers]
I will ask you about the measures for financial stabilization unveiled at the latest G-7 meeting. As the idea of injecting public funds (into distressed financial institutions) was not discussed, some people argue that none of those measures will have immediate effect. What do you think in this regard?
In Japan, too, the injection of public funds was realized only after substantial discussions were held. As I remember it, the scheme for the injection of public funds was established six years after the financial crisis first emerged. Naturally, the injection of public funds should lead to debate about where the responsibility lies. In Japan's case, the Ministry of Finance was forced to take responsibility in the form of the division of its authority over fiscal and financial affairs. Thus, a decision on the injection of public funds involves politically difficult issues. This is a matter to be decided by the authorities of individual countries. A key point will be whether political difficulties can be overcome to enable such ultimate decision and how much time the process will take.
I will ask you about the issue of TCI (the Children's Investment Fund) and J-Power (Electric Power Development Co.). Speculation has emerged anew that a recommendation for suspending or revising (TCI's plan to acquire additional shares in J-Power) will be issued. What do you think of this issue?
As I have repeatedly told you, we are not involved in this matter at all. The important thing is that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Finance provide clear explanations. They are responsible for providing explanations that satisfy market players so as to avoid creating the impression that Japan's markets are closed.
An ordinance banning uninvited solicitation is under deliberation at the assembly of Akita Prefecture - the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act bans uninvited solicitation with regard to financial futures products in particular - how do you feel about the fact that there is a movement like this among local governments?
I am not aware of the details of what is being debated in Akita Prefecture. We received various opinions regarding the issue of uninvited solicitation when we held debate on the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act. We have included in this act a provision for the ban you mentioned. I will study what kind of debate is ongoing in Akita Prefecture.
There is a media report that Mr. Yoichi Takahashi, who worked for the Ministry of Finance until recently, became an adviser to the FSA. Could you confirm this report and tell us what kind of role he is expected to play and why he has been invited to serve as adviser.
I am not aware of the media report you mentioned. Anyway, Mr. Yoichi Takahashi became an adviser to the FSA, effective April 1. He joined the Financial Markets Strategy Team. For some time, I have been highly appreciating his planning ability. Under the administration of former Prime Minister Abe, he was a counselor at the Prime Minister's Office, as I remember it, acting as a member of the office's advisory staff, like a strategy planning team. He is an actuary, an expert in insurance mathematics. As for financial administration, he has experience in a variety of areas including securities and banking businesses. I have been thinking of appointing a person with such expert knowledge as a member of the ministerial staff. As he is serving as a non-permanent staff member, his status differs a bit from the position of the ministerial staff as envisioned in the reform under the planned basic law on the reform of the civil servant system. Anyway, I would like to fully tap the knowledge of Mr. Yoichi Takahashi.
Will he join the (Financial Markets) Strategy Team starting with tomorrow's meeting?
As it is up to him, I do not know.
Is he not an official member?
He is an official member. Like other members, he is an adviser to the FSA.
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