Issues concerning the Bill to Revise the Law for Strengthening Financial Systems
October 29, 2008
Democratic Party of Japan
Even though the government responded to the DPJ窶冱 proposal for Financial Crisis Countermeasures (officially approved on October 15), by issuing a bill to revise the Law for Strengthening Financial Systems, the government approach to the issue differs some ways from the DPJ. Most importantly, if the government wishes to propose the injection of taxpayers' money into certain public corporations, then public understanding is indispensable and from that perspective the government's proposal raises numerous problems.
The DPJ intends to approach appropriately to these many issues, which are outlined below, after taking account of how debate over these issues is proceeding in Diet committees and carefully analyzing the stance of the government and the ruling coalition.
- 1. As the aim of the government's bill is to ensure the smooth flow of funds to small and medium-sized businesses, financial institutions applying for funds from the government should be required to submit a "concrete plan for financing small and medium-sized businesses". This will help ensure that taxpayers' money is actually used for assisting the businesses targeted by the Bill. In addition to the measures proposed under the Bill, the DPJ believes that the government must also promise to fully implement other important measures such as an appropriate review of the "Financial Screening Manual" so as to allow borrowers who are faithfully making interest payments on their loans to have the conditions of their loan modified without compromising their credit status.
- 2. If public money is to be injected into financial institutions which, compared to other financial institutions experiencing instability as a result of the current financial crisis, are suffering from extremely poor business performance due to unique factors such as the institution's past management practices, then responsibility for business performance at such institutions must be clarified.
- 3. If public money is to be injected into the Norinchukin Bank (which provides financing for the agricultural industry) then the approval of the Diet should be required in addition to the approval of the presiding minister. Furthermore, funds should only be made available after full disclosure of the terms and conditions (including salary and bonus) awarded to the President of the Bank, a post which has been continually occupied by former Vice Ministers of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Measures must also be put in place to ensure the political neutrality of the Norinchukin Bank and its subsidiary financial institutions.
- 4. If taxpayer's money injected into the Norinchukin Bank is then passed on to financial institutions under its umbrella (Federations of Agricultural Co-operatives, Shinren and Individual Agricultural Co-operatives, JA Bank) in order to support their business performance, then the names of individual institutions receiving financial assistance should be disclosed in order to ensure transparency in the spending of taxpayer's money and fairness in the treatment of such institutions as compared to other financial institutions including local (non-agricultural) banks. Such disclosure should also cover cases where the said financial assistance is not provided directly.
- 5. The measures outlined in 4. above should also apply in cases where taxpayer's money is injected into other financial institutions that have a central government affiliated subsidy network.
- 6. The government should clarify that the new bill proposed would not apply to financial institutions in which local authorities hold a controlling stake.