Ad Hoc Press Conference by Taro Aso, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and Minister of State for Financial Services

(Thursday, August 7, 2014, 5:42 pm to 5:51 pm, Fukushima Local Finance Office)

[Opening remarks]

As the Minister of State for Financial Services, today I was given the opportunity to exchange opinions with financial institutions in Fukushima. I heard about the economy and finance in Fukushima, the various users there, and so on, and I really hope that the financial institutions, of which there are various types, such as credit unions, banks, act appropriately. I also heard about the various initiatives they are implementing, and I feel that recovery from the earthquake is still a long way off, that we’re only halfway there, and I think that in this area solid support from the financial sector is important, so I asked them to continue to provide assistance.

[Questions and answers]


You referred to population decline in your opening address, please tell us what was discussed about this matter during your exchange of opinions with the financial institutions.


With regard to population decline, the total fertility rate has increased a little, but if it remains at one point three something, the number of local governments, which is 1,800 at present, will drop to around 900 in 30 years. I think Hiroya Masuda, the former Governor of Iwate Prefecture said that. If people disappear like that, there will be no one to lend to, and if banks have no one to lend to they will not survive. So for that reason we need to think about various things, but as for today, no one really said that we should do this or that. However, financial institutions with branches in areas subject to evacuation orders have obviously had to close these branches temporarily, and personnel from those branches are probably now working in other areas. Some of them may have left the prefecture and gone to Miyagi Prefecture, while those in the south may have gone to Ibaraki Prefecture, but we didn’t discuss specifics about what should be done with regard to this matter.


This overlaps a bit with the previous question, but the Liberal Democratic Party’s Japan Revitalization Vision includes a plan to promote the consolidation of regional banks, so during today’s discussions, did you, for example, make any suggestions or proposals regarding that?


No. This isn’t something that I should be forcing on them. Thank you.

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