Press Conference by ASO Taro, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, and Minister of State for Financial Services
(Friday, August 31, 2021, 11:18 am to 11:29 am)
[Questions and answers:]
On August 20, due to a system failure, Mizuho Bank suspended over-the-counter services for deposits, withdrawals and money transfers. Mizuho Financial Group, Inc. has had system failures repeatedly and caused inconvenience to its customers. The FSA has issued dispositions and orders to Mizuho, but Mizuho has failed to make improvements sufficiently. Accordingly, the FSA's supervisory responsibility would also be questioned. What do you think as the minister in charge of financial services?
In 2002, three banks, namely, Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank, Industrial Bank of Japan, and Fuji Bank merged into the present Mizuho Bank. It was approximately 20 years ago. They had used different computer systems of Fujitsu, Hitachi, and IBM, respectively, and persons well-versed in computers in those days doubted how to integrate those different computer systems. The first system failure occurred soon after the merger. If I remember correctly, the second one occurred at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake. I think that those two incidents were the only large-scale system failures. However, this year, Mizuho has had system failures repeatedly, five or six times. How many times?
The latest was the fifth system failure this year.
I thought it was the sixth. Anyhow, that many times. Machines may break or go wrong. Therefore, the bank must have put in place double or triple backup systems, but none of those systems worked this time. In that sense, the incident will create anxiety about the reliability of financial services among people. It is truly regrettable that a financial institution fails to offer services stably. As the agency to supervise financial institutions, we need to follow up how the bank will investigate the causes of the system failures and take sufficient countermeasures. Specifically, the FSA requested Mizuho Bank to make a report on ascertained facts and causes of the system failures on August 20 and 23 based on the Banking Act. I would refrain from making any comments on concrete administrative dispositions imposed on an individual financial institution at this point in time. We will carefully examine the content of the bank's report and take required measures. The report will be submitted today. We think that the key would be how to ensure appropriate functioning of emergency backup systems. We would like to follow up the bank's efforts for searching causes and devising recurrence-prevention measures.
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