11 November 2004
Financial Services Agency

EU-Japan High Level Meeting on Financial Issues

EU-Japan High Level Meeting on Financial Issues co-chaired by the European Commission and Ministry of Finance of Japan took place in Tokyo on 11 November 2004. Mr. Toru Shikibu, Deputy Commissioner for International Affairs, and other representatives attended the Meeting from the FSA.

The following is the Press Release announced after the closing of the Meeting.

Press Release

EU-Japan High Level Meeting on Financial Issues
11 November 2004, Tokyo

The annual EU-Japan High Level Meeting on Financial Issues was held in Tokyo on 11 November 2004. Mr Hiroshi Watanabe, Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs, Mr Klaus Regling, Director-General of DG Economic and Financial Affairs, and Mr Alexander Schaub, Director-General of DG Internal Market, from the European Commission, co-chaired the meeting. Mr Toru Shikibu, Deputy Commissioner for International Affairs of the Financial Services Agency also participated in the meeting. Mr Lucas Papademos, Vice President of the ECB and Mr Wataru Takahashi, Deputy Director-General, International Department, the Bank of Japan, also attended the meeting.

This year's meeting confirmed the constructive and fruitful spirit of cooperation between the two partners and their genuine interest in further deepening mutual understanding. A broad exchange of views took place on topical issues related to macroeconomic developments and policy responses in Japan and in the EU, regulatory and supervisory issues in the financial services area on both sides, as well as an update of the current state of the Japanese banking sector and matters related to EU enlargement.

In the macroeconomic session, the Japanese side described the current solid recovery led by private demand, and stressed the importance of further structural reforms for ensuring the ongoing recovery. The Japanese side also presented the policy efforts made jointly by the government and the Bank of Japan to overcome deflation. In the fiscal policy area, the challenges posed by the rising government debt and the ageing population were discussed.

The EU side described the current gradual recovery in the EU, supported by global demand, accommodative macroeconomic policies, low inflation and progress with structural reforms. Monetary policy issues were discussed and the EU side presented the developments in the fiscal policy area, outlining the recent proposals for strengthening the implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact.

In the joint session, the dialogue focused on the improved state of the banking sector in Japan, including the decline in non-performing loans. Various issues related to the most recent and possible future EU enlargements were also discussed.

In the financial services session, the Japanese side reported on progress on securities sector reform, including the recent legislation to widen the scope of financial sectors eligible for securities introducing agent businesses. The both sides then exchanged views and shared experiences in addressing global issues of accounting standards and statutory audits under the relevant EU Directives.

The EU presented the latest developments in the Financial Services Action Plan (FSAP) and noted that full implementation of the FSAP by 2005 is on target. The attention of the EU will now turn to ensuring effective implementation and enforcement of the measures agreed under the FSAP and building on those measures to complete the integration of EU financial markets.

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