Provisional translation

Press Conference by Shoichi Nakagawa, Minister of Finance and Minister for Financial Services


January 20, 2009

[Questions and Answers]


First, Sapporo Hokuyo Holdings, which is based in Hokkaido, announced yesterday that it started considering applying for governmental capital injection under the revised Act on Special Measures for Strengthening Financial Functions. While the screening has yet to be done, it will be the first case of capital injection under this Act if the application is approved. What do you think of this?


I know of the announcement yesterday that Hokuyo Bank started considering accepting governmental capital injection. I think it is very good for the local economy for a sound bank to provide funds to SMEs in Hokkaido by strengthening its capital base. So, if I am to speak in general terms, rather than talking about a specific bank, I hope that the recapitalization scheme will be used to achieve the purpose of this Act.


How do you expect this will affect other financial institutions?


In the past, there was a similar case, although the purpose at that time was quite different, and some people worried that this scheme could have negative effects. However, I hope that this will prompt other financial institutions to use this scheme, as its use by sound banks would lead to the fulfillment of their duty to exercise their financial functions.


New U.S. President Obama will take office. How would you like to promote fiscal and monetary cooperation between Japan and the United States?


I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to Mr. Obama as he takes office this evening, or next morning Japan time. While his administration will be inaugurated amid great difficulty in terms of foreign policy as well as domestic economic and financial management, I believe that expectations for President Obama are very high, so I hope that he will overcome this difficulty. For my part, I would like to meet or talk with my U.S. counterpart on the phone as soon as his appointment is confirmed.


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