Provisional Translation

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


(Friday, January 10, 2020, 11:49 am to 0:01 pm)

[Questions and answers:]


My question related to the Japan Post Group. Yesterday, new president Masuda held a press conference. Now that there is an administrative penalty from the FSA, I’d like to ask for your thoughts on what kind of improvements you expect from the current new Japan Post Group.


I am aware that he held a press conference on taking up the new post. Simply put, the Japan Post Group, on which the FSA imposed the administrative actions, must first deal with compensating the disadvantaged customers for the amount they lost. I honestly think that’s the most important thing that they must focus on, as it’s a gigantic organization. You would understand if you went to a regional special post office, but even the smallest post offices are separated into small sections. You’d wonder what was the point of doing that. There’s only five or six people, but it’s divided for one or two people. I remember wondering why. Now it’s changed tremendously. There’s no reason to do such a thing, but everyone thought they had to do it. It was done like that from the start, when Japan Post Insurance was split off from post offices. People would think, “What are you doing?” But regarding governance, you might have thought that if they don’t do something then there’d be problems, and now it’s become just what you’d expected. At that time, I was Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications, and I remember opposing it by myself, saying you can’t do this that way. Ultimately it was pressed forward and that’s how it became, and although they’d change it later, I believe it’s rather difficult. In that sense, upon conducting proper governance, they must carry out preventive measures. All kinds of things have come to light, naturally the situation where they created gaps or overlaps when older people renew their insurance policies, and the fact of having to maintain the system to prevent the reoccurrence, once again providing proper training for the staff members, especially the salespeople, just as other banks do, we heard all kinds of things at his press meeting. He told at the meeting that they were going to do something like that going forward, so they have to do it. It’s easy to say that, but surprisingly challenging. Saying there will be a reform of corporate culture, or a complete change, that is a total fabrication. It can’t be done. An old organization that has been around for a long time cannot change or reset itself so easily. People who say they will do so, generally, those are people who have not worked in management before. It takes time for that large of an organization to do it, and for that awareness to reach down through the organization takes yet more time, so a company has to do that kind of thing with perseverance. If it’s just words from people who do not understand the actual conditions at the workplace, they will end up causing huge problems for the workplace, and in that sense if it is not done very stringently it will not reach down through the organization. I think that work will be rather challenging, but they have to do it.

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