Press Conference by Kaoru Yosano, Minister of Finance and Minister for Financial Services and Economic and Fiscal Policy
May 22, 2009
[Opening Remarks by Minister Yosano]
As the cabinet meeting proceeded based on the predetermined agenda, no new topics were discussed.
[Questions and Answers]
In relation to the financial sector, it was announced that an employee of Nomura Securities is under investigation in connection with an insider trading case. Last year, there was also an insider trading case involving an employee of the company. As the minister who has jurisdiction over the financial industry, do you have any comment on the fact that the major securities company that represents Japan has been implicated in a series of such cases?
I have not received any report concerning the details of this case from the FSA (Financial Services Agency). Since I assumed the post of the Minister for Financial Affairs, I have maintained the policy of leaving it to the FSA Commissioner to decide how to deal with individual cases. Of course, after a case has been completely settled, I receive a report concerning the final outcome. However, I do not receive any report while a case is ongoing, nor do I wish to do so.
The stock market is stabilizing, although stock prices are still declining somewhat. Could you tell us about your opinion, if any, on the necessity of enacting a bill for the purchase of stocks from the market in light of the current stock price level?
An effective countermeasure is necessary. Is it sufficient to plan such a measure or is it necessary to put it in place? I think there is little difference. Nonetheless. It is very important that through Diet debate and debate between political parties, a consensus has been mostly formed among the parties on the need to support the stock market through purchases using public funds if the stock market plunges into a downward spiral. However, now that stock prices (as measured by the Nikkei average) are above 9,000, the argument for that measure has lost some momentum.
I would like to ask you about Japan Post. Japan Post will convene a general shareholders’ meeting at the end of next month. When the Ministry of Finance attends the meeting as a shareholder, will it express opinions on behalf of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications after consulting with it? Or will it only perform its duties as the custodian of shares?
What you must remember is that all cabinet members, including me, are under the leadership of Prime Minister Aso. It is natural to think that the authority of the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications over Japan Post has been delegated by the cabinet, so it is impossible to make an important decision like that without obtaining the consent of the Prime Minister. This is the standard interpretation of the law. Therefore, although you referred to the Ministry of Finance as a shareholder, the ministry needs to exercise the shareholder rights in accordance with the policy of the cabinet, and it is impossible for the ministry to make a decision independently.
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