Press Conference by SUZUKI Shunichi, Minister of Finance and Minister of State for Financial Services
(Wednesday, September 13, 2023, 00:06 pm to 00:24 pm)
After your second term, could you tell us about your achievements and difficulties standing out in your memory in the past year? Could you also tell us about the challenges that the Ministry of Finance and the Financial Services Agency will face in the future and how you think you should overcome them?
While working as the Minister of State for Financial Services over the past year, I gave the highest priority, in the field of financial affairs, to offering support for business operators suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Going forward, I believe it is necessary to support efforts by financial institutions to help businesses with management improvement and turnaround, beyond the support in their cash flow management, in a manner relevant to their actual conditions, making sure that their initiatives will be carried through.
Under the "New Form of Capitalism," the Doubling Asset-based Income Plan was formed last November with an aim to realize a cycle for distributing the fruits of growth widely among the people. As one of its pillars, the Plan advocates a radical expansion and perpetuation of the NISA (Nippon Individual Saving Account), an initiative to encourage households to shift their financial assets from savings to investments. The idea has been realized as part of the 2023 tax reform. The new NISA comes into operation in January. We will work to get the scheme broadly recognized and used by people, and offer them opportunities for better financial and economic education, as well.
As stated in a government policy decided by the Cabinet in June, this year we will also promote Japan as a leading asset management center. The Council of New Form of Capitalism Realization develops a specific policy plan within the year. We will also work with ministries and agencies concerned to consider specific policy measures to promote enhancement of the asset management business and strengthen the functions of asset owners.
This spring, a series of financial institution failures occurred in the U.S. and Europe, including the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in the U.S. Amid the confusion, posts on social media spread credit uncertainty rapidly and internet banking, now having become commonplace, allowed deposits to flow out more quickly. That is what the financial community around the world, including the authorities, experienced. The Financial Stability Board (FSB), under the G20, is working to apply lessons learned from the event to make the financial system more stable and robust. I believe it is important for us to make a contribution to such global discussions.
Recently in the non-life insurance sector, several cases of inappropriate transactions seen from the viewpoint of policyholder protection have come to light in succession. Work is still underway to make clear all the facts and examine how such cases were allowed to happen. If any problem is found that demonstrates a lack of policyholder protection, we must take strict action according to laws and regulations.
In addition, in the field of financial administration, we will continue to address a broad range of important themes, such as promotion of sustainable finance, development of environments helpful to realize a digital society, and enhancement of money laundering prevention and cybersecurity.
We incorporated the establishment of an Organization for the Promotion of Financial and Economic Education and other initiatives into a related bill, which was reviewed before the ordinary Diet session this year. However, it was carried over to the next session. We expect the Diet to deliberate on this significant bill as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, toward implementing it swiftly once it passes the Diet, we will also make preparations in a proactive manner.
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