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The Prime Minister in Action

Annual Meeting of the National Association of Shinkin Banks

June 20, 2018

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address

  • Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address
[Provisional Translation]
On June 20, 2018, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the Annual Meeting of the National Association of *Shinkin Banks held in Tokyo.
The Prime Minister said in his address,
“Thank you very much for inviting me to the annual meeting of the National Association of Shinkin Banks today. I would like to extend my congratulations to the success of the annual meeting, and please allow me to offer some remarks.
Shinkin banks have continued to fulfill an important role all this time; you have paid close attention to the concerns of residents as well as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in your respective communities, and continued to respond accurately to their needs that have changed with the times. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my deep respect for the hard work that you put in day to day.
Just like the shinkin banks, the Abe Cabinet has also actively supported the 3.8 million micro, small and medium-sized businesses across Japan which should be described as the treasures of our country, as they sustain local economies and employment.
Today, we are facing the reality that approximately 60% of managers of these micro, small and medium-sized businesses will be older than 70 years of age in the next decade, and half of them have not yet found any successors. The successive closure of these businesses, despite being profitable, is a significant loss to Japan’s economy, and we need to deal with this issue of business succession urgently. With a strong sense of such urgency, we have drastically expanded the taxation of business succession by reducing the burden of the gift tax and inheritance tax to zero in cases of business succession. Furthermore, we are also strengthening the structure of the Business Succession Support Center with the aim of facilitating the matching of companies that are facing difficulties in finding a successor with companies that wish to take over the business.
Shinkin banks are also providing strong support for business succession by harnessing your strong ties with micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. In particular, shinkin banks in Hokkaido cooperate with one another, and work together with business succession consultants and other partners, to provide individual and specific business succession support to local companies that are facing difficulties due to the absence of successors. It is said that the efforts of shinkin banks go beyond organizing seminars and providing consultation services; instead, you take one step further in providing support and put your best effort into retaining local businesses and employment. Indeed, we can call them as an initiative aiming at the revitalization of the local economies.
Such supports to local micro, small and medium sized businesses contribute to protecting local economies, and also leads to stabilizing the business foundations of shinkin banks, which are deeply rooted in local economies.
Through the five years of Abenomics, the number of SMEs bankruptcies has fallen by 30%, while wages in SMEs continue to hit the highest records in this century. The employment rate of new graduates from senior high school and university this spring also reached a historical high since the survey was begun. With regard to the local economies, the number of people employed has also increased across all regions since the change in government. The growth rate in the number of overseas tourists visiting rural areas now exceeds the number visiting the three major cities.
At the same time, we are fully aware that personnel shortages are becoming a serious issue all across the country. There are many young people who believe that the opportunities lay in the regions ahead of them. The other day, I was briefed directly by a student from Kyushu University that he has launched a cutting-edge medical start-up with the technologies which have been developed jointly with the university. I would like everyone in each community to tackle challenges more boldly. To that end, the shinkin banks play an extremely significant role. For example, I was told that there is a growing trend towards executing loans without requiring any personal guarantee of the owner, based on the relationship that the banks have built up with the businesses over many years and the future prospect of the business. I am looking forward to seeing more efforts from you.
We will give top priority to the economy. The Abe Cabinet is firmly resolved to spread the waves of the productivity revolution to all SMEs across Japan by mobilizing all policy measures in this aim, including the assistance for IT installation as well as a new scheme that reduces fixed property tax to zero based on the decision of designated municipalities.
I would like to extend my best wishes for the further success and development of the National Association of Shinkin Banks, as well as of all its member shinkin banks. The process of regional revitalization has just begun and it has already created various opportunities. I believe that tourism, which I spoke about earlier, could also become a large engine powering regional revitalization. I would like to unleash the hidden potential of each region and carve out a bright future. You should not give up, anyway. Yesterday, Japan won the soccer match against Colombia. How many, among those of you present here, thought that Japan would win? Yet, we can do it if we try. Without giving up, believe in the possibilities, continue training yourself till the end, trust in this dedicated training and your own abilities, and keep trying hard till the end. I believe that such an attitude contributed to this victory. It is also the case in each region. Work together to make the regions a great success, and the  micro, small and medium-sized businesses will continue to grow and develop. That is the Japan that I wish to build together with everyone.
Once again, I wish to extend my heartfelt congratulations for today.”
*Shinkin banks are cooperative financial institutions.

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