Press Conference by ASO Taro, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and Minister of State for Financial Services
(Tuesday, May 18, 2021, 9:33 am to 9:40 am)
[Questions and answers:]
On May 14, Aomori Bank and Michinoku Bank in Aomori Prefecture officially announced that they have reached a basic agreement toward management integration. Could you explain what you think of such movement toward reorganization among regional banks?
I know some information regarding the announcement, but I will refrain from making any comments on individual cases. However, in depopulating areas, including Aomori, jobs naturally decrease, sales decrease and consumption decreases, and banks are subject to the business conditions of companies to which they provide loans and inevitably receive those negative impacts. Therefore, they will have to work out solutions, including agreements on management integrations. Solutions may differ by local areas, as in the case of reorganization of banks in Nagasaki, but anyhow, regional banks need to strengthen their business bases. If regional banks, which are supposed to support local companies, are in need of help, regional developments will never be achieved. In that sense, management integration is one option for regional banks in their efforts to strengthen their business base, I think.
Since yesterday, there has been media coverage reporting that the Tokyo Stock Exchange is considering extending trading hours for stocks. Will the extension lead to strengthening the international competitiveness of Japan's financial markets? Could you explain your opinion and basic facts?
This is nothing new. Traders using the internet or other means are generally working for two and half hours each in the morning session and in the afternoon session at present. For those who do not provide face-to-face services, the extension of trading hours will not increase workload so much. However, large securities companies providing face-to-face services need to secure personnel and change their business hours, and therefore they will not easily agree with the extension of trading hours. The extension has been discussed for a long time and is hardly new. It is important that related parties in the securities industry broadly discuss this matter.
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