Press Conference by Yoshimi Watanabe,Minister for Financial Services
Friday, May 23, 2008
[Opening Remarks by Minister Watanabe]
Today, we made a cabinet decision regarding the bill for the reform of relevant acts following the enforcement of the amendment of the Act on General Rules for Independent Administrative Agency, or the “Improvement Act.” This bill modifies 135 acts related to the amendment of the Act on General Rules for Independent Administrative Institutions in accordance of the enforcement of the amendment, which was submitted on April 25. For example, it eliminates the provision concerning committees on the evaluation of independent administrative institutions established at ministries and agencies. Although the current Diet session is approaching the end of its term, we will make efforts to enact the bill swiftly.
That is all I have to say.
[Questions and Answers]
I would like to ask you about the reform of the civil servant system, in relation to which the ruling and opposition parties are said to be commencing negotiations today with a view to modifying the relevant bill. Some people say that it will be difficult for the two sides to reach an agreement. What do you think will be the key point as they seek to reach an agreement?
Since the ruling and opposition parties broadly agree on the direction of reform, I think that there will be a fairly good chance of reaching a compromise in regards to the details. Question-and-answer sessions held in the Diet have clarified the key points of debate regarding matters such as the concentration within the cabinet of authority over personnel affairs regarding senior civil servants, contacts between politicians and civil servants, and the philosophy concerning the labor-management relationship. As it would be fruitless for the two sides to continue to stick to their respective positions regarding details, I strongly hope for a constructive compromise. If we fail to seize this opportunity and fail to enact this bill during the current Diet session, it is highly likely that it will be effectively scrapped. That would only delight those who desire to maintain the status quo. So I strongly hope that the ruling and opposition parties will work together to enact the bill. This is not an issue over which the ruling and opposition parties should cross swords with each other. This is a choice between political initiative and bureaucratic initiative.
My second question concerns the financial sector. Foreign companies are delisting their stocks from the Japanese stock market one after another. What do you think of this situation?
This is quite regrettable. Just at a time when we are promoting foreign investment in Japan and trying to open up Japan's financial and capital markets, revitalize the markets by attracting funds from within and outside Japan and make the markets internationally competitive, I wonder why they are withdrawing. Although there may be a variety of reasons for this, we should not neglect our efforts aimed at making Japan's markets more accessible and convenient.
I would like to ask this question again. Why do you think this situation has occurred and what do you think should be done?
I would like to think it over.
As for the (planned) Consumer Agency, when will you talk about it with Minister Kishida?
I have received no proposal. Although we always sit side by side (during cabinet meetings), he has not approached me about this matter.
Regarding Shinginko Tokyo, I hear that Kinki Sangyo Shinyokumiai has expressed its willingness to support the bank. What do you think of this?
I would like to refrain from commenting on specific cases like this. We will conduct rigorous screening if such an offer is made.
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