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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: This morning Prime Minister Noda met with Governor Shirakawa of the Bank of Japan. Could you tell us about the content of their discussions, if you are aware of what they talked about?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The breakfast meeting this morning was held on a one-to-one basis between the Prime Minister and the Governor of the Bank of Japan. In their previous meeting, held on January 17, which was not a one-to-one meeting and included exchanges of opinions, it was agreed that the two should meet regularly to exchange opinions and also to share views on various matters. The breakfast meeting today was held on the basis of that agreement reached on January 17. I can tell you that the Prime Minister and the Governor engaged in a frank and straightforward exchange of opinions, but I would like to refrain from commenting on the specific content.


REPORTER: On a different subject, I have a question concerning savings held in "dormant accounts" at banks and other institution, which have had no payments or withdrawals made for more than 10 years. I believe that consideration of the ways of utilizing such dormant accounts is an agenda item at the Council for the Promotion of Growth and Finance. How is the Government considering using such accounts as a means of reconstruction assistance for the Great East Japan Earthquake?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The meeting of the Council for the Promotion of Growth and Finance is scheduled to be held this evening. As you mention, the issue of dormant accounts is on the agenda for discussion. This council has been established to give consideration to the necessity to provide adequate and flexible sources of growth-targeted finance in order for the companies and economy of Japan as a whole to regain their vitality and further expand. From this perspective, as measures to improve the flow of growth-targeted finance, discussion will target various issues, including the expansion of sources of financing, the strengthening of intermediary support functions and enhancing relations with overseas markets. The utilization of dormant bank accounts is therefore being addressed as one of the measures to expand sources of growth-targeted finance and has been placed on the agenda in that context. I will report on the content of the meeting following its conclusion. However, this is an issue that has been touched on in the past and although there have been various proposals for the use of dormant bank accounts I think that it is actually difficult to realize. The issue will, however, be discussed in the meeting as a challenge.


REPORTER: I believe that you met with the president of Toyota Motor Corporation yesterday. Many in the manufacturing industry are complaining of current difficulties, which include the extremely strong yen and the prospects for an increase in electricity utility charges. What is your recognition of the current economic situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The latest figures for the economic outlook will be announced tomorrow, however, to respond to your question, if you compare each quarter it is true that results are down. However, if you look by month it becomes apparent that exports in October and November were depressed due to the impact of the floods in Thailand and other factors. In December there was an upturn, with better results compared with the previous quarter. In terms of domestic production, after shrinking in November, since December it has been increasing as companies have sought to compensate for lost production in previous months. If you look at the economic trends overall, my recognition is that the Japanese economy is continuing its gradual recovery. However, the impact of the debt crisis in Europe and the downturn in overseas economies present downside risks to the Japanese economy. We must therefore ensure that we remain alert to economic trends and continue to monitor them closely. The Monthly Economic Report for February is due to be released tomorrow and I will expand further on economic matters then.


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