Provisional Translation

Press Conference by ASO Taro, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and Minister of State for Financial Services


(Wednesday, September 11, 2019, 12:15 pm to 12:28 pm)

[Questions and answers:]


Today saw the second reshuffle of the fourth Abe cabinet, and Japan has entered the new Reiwa era. I’d like to ask your opinion regarding what has left a lasting impression on the economy and financial management since the first reshuffle in October 2018.


For finance, I’d say “digitalization.” IT has become more attached to finance, and “financial technology” has become known as “FinTech,” so you can see the change right there. Now, companies and organizations other than banks are able to deal with money, conducting transaction and remittances. Those businesses are able to enter the financial industry in a variety of ways and fashions, but accepting those developments, regulations that are in line with this new era are necessary.

Another would be about various financial initiatives in regions with a decline in population and lackluster economies. For example, we’ve seen various initiatives being made gradually in Nagasaki and other locations. With respect to the past year, except for other developments still in progress, I’d say that is the result and the shape that things have taken.


My question is related to Japan Post Insurance. It has been reported that the FSA is conducting on-site inspection. As Minister of State for Financial Services, you must justifiably feel that the inspection should be carried out strictly for the sake of the customers. However, stocks related to the postal service need to be sold off at a rather high value to be able to retain the funding sources for restoration, as you are aware. This causes two rather difficult situations to be managed simultaneously. How do you plan to handle this?


What do you mean by two situations?


I mean that you want the stocks to be sold at a high rate, but as Minister of Finance, you must conduct a thorough inspection. It’s rather difficult to have these two positions at the same time. I’d like to know how you plan on dealing with them simultaneously.


I think it’s obvious that we don’t want to cause further inconvenience to the end users—that being the people who are enrolled in insurance policies. We need to ensure that protections are in place to avoid that. Thinking from the policyholder’s standpoint, however, this is of course going to cause inconvenience. It’s going to damage the relationship of trust that is extremely crucial to this kind of finance. As such, this is a question of trust, and I believe that rebuilding that relationship of trust is important. That is the highest priority for me. Japan Post Insurance and Japan Post Holding must think from that standpoint first.

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