Provisional Translation

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


(Friday, November 13, 2020, 5:19 pm to 5:26 pm)

[Questions and answers:]


I would like to ask you a question in your capacity as Minister of State for Financial Services. There have been news reports that a new program is to be instituted to provide subsidies covering some of the system integration expenses incurred by regional and shinkin banks merging or integrating as regional financial institutions restructure. Would you please give us your thoughts on the aims of this subsidy program?


Our basic thinking on this has not changed. Regional financial institutions face a variety of circumstances, and deciding on whether to merge or integrate is up to bank management; we have no intention of telling them what to do. It seems quite likely that what we say could get written up in a misleading way to make it appear we are encouraging mergers, but we have not said any such thing, and fundamentally our views remain the same. Regional banks and other regional financial institutions have on their own accord decided to integrate as they face an ever more challenging business environment because of a declining population and such in, for example, Nagasaki, and whatever they decide to do to improve their regional business infrastructure would be pointless if it does not contribute to the region. We are not offering bank bailouts, but we must get them to take action before they become unable to do anything without bailouts because, if they ask for help only after going bankrupt, we will have to take steps to avoid things turning out like they did in 1997 and 1998. Such action is what we expect. At the very least, they must conduct thorough reviews of their businesses, and our program for providing funds to regional financial institutions is one way of assisting them. In any case, discussions are underway in the Financial System Council and among the ruling parties on measures to reinforce business infrastructure, and I think we must listen carefully to calls for more deregulation and other opinions being expressed.

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