Provisional translation

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


January 23, 2009

[Questions and Answers]


I would like to ask you about applications for public funds based on the Act on Special Measures for Strengthening Financial Functions. What do you think of Minami Nippon Bank’s recent expression of their intention to consider filing an application? Also, while I think that other regional banks may file their own applications as, to a certain degree, drops in stock prices and the (severe) condition of the local economies are problems that are common in the industry, how do you view the current situation?


As for the Act on Special Measures for Strengthening Financial Functions, as I have said over and over again, its purpose is to strengthen the foundation of financial institutions and encourage them to provide funds to small and medium-size enterprises and local economies, and financial institutions should make their own judgments and apply for injections of public funds based on that. The announcements by Hokuyo Bank and Minami Nippon Bank that they will consider applying are in accordance with the purpose of this Act. In particular, I would greatly appreciate it if applications were filed in regions such as Hokkaido and Kagoshima, where the economic condition is very severe, so that funds could be provided smoothly there, and I would also appreciate it if applications were filed in other regions or by other financial institutions.


Three major non-life insurance companies, including Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, are expected to announce a business integration plan today. Although the announcement has yet to be made, could you tell us how you assess this move and what you expect of it?


I do not know anything more than has been reported by the mass media, and I would like to refrain from commenting on specific cases. Generally speaking, I think that it is good that banks do what they judge to be proper in light of this financial situation. While I am not in a position to tell them whether or not to do this, I would like to reserve my judgment until after a formal announcement has been made.


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