Provisional translation

Press Conference by Yoshimi Watanabe,Minister for Financial Services

April 25, 2008

[Opening Remarks by Minister Watanabe]

Good morning.

At today's cabinet meeting, a cabinet decision was made with regard to a bill for partial amendment of the Act on General Rules for Incorporated Administrative Agencies. This bill is based on the consolidation and rationalization plan for incorporated administrative agencies that was adopted late last year. It is very reform-oriented, containing provisions to centralize the authority over governance in the cabinet, to introduce a system of ex-post checks by the cabinet in place of the evaluation system based on self-serving assessment by the individual ministries concerned, to give cabinet ministers the power to make recommendations to the Prime Minister with regard to the appointment of presidents of incorporated administrative agencies under their jurisdiction, and to select the presidents of these agencies through a system of inviting applications from the public. It also requires incorporated administrative agencies to return all of the proceeds from the sale of assets to the national coffers and puts restrictions on “amakudari” from such agencies. We will submit the bill to the Diet and seek to have it enacted during the current Diet session. This is all I have to say.

[Questions and Answers]


A former employee of Nomura Securities was arrested for suspected insider trading. What do you think of this case and what action will the FSA take in response?


This case demands close attention, as this is a scandal involving a major securities company. It is quite outrageous that an employee working at a department handling corporate information has engaged in transactions based on insider information. It is regrettable that an incident like this has occurred at a time when we are trying to strengthen the competitiveness of the securities market and Japan's markets as a whole. We will take strict action against this case.


The Prime Minister has expressed his intention to establish a “Consumer Agency,” and I expect that this will require cooperation between the ministries and agencies concerned. How does the FSA intend to act in this regard, and what do you think of the importance or necessity of a Consumer Agency?


We recognize the importance of establishing such an agency, too. In financial regulation, we have already made a major policy shift to put emphasis on the protection of consumers and users. Thus, we would like to proceed with this matter while holding discussions with Minister Kishida (in charge of promoting consumer-oriented administration).


The start of Diet deliberations over the bill for the basic act on the national civil servant system has been substantially delayed. What do you think about this delay?


It is quite regrettable. The bill was submitted to the Diet on April 4, and it is already approaching the end of the month. I was hoping that the bill could be subjected to questions and answers in a plenary session before the Golden Week holiday season. Regrettably, this was not possible. If we fail to pass this bill through the Diet, who will be happy? It will be the people trying to preserve the status quo who are very happy in such a case. To prevent that, I hope that Diet deliberations will start early and proceed quickly.


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