January 01, 2024

Financial Services Agency aims for healthy, sustainable economy

Shunichi Suzuki
Finance Minister, Minister of State for Financial Services

As we welcome the beginning of 2024, I would like to extend my heartfelt New Year’s greetings to all readers of The Japan Times.

Last October marked two years since the inauguration of the Kishida Cabinet. Throughout this period, we have worked on various issues aimed at fostering a healthy economic cycle by increasing wages and boosting investments. Last year, we achieved significant wage hikes through the shuntō spring negotiations between labor and management, the largest private investment in history and stock prices reaching the highest level in 30 years.

We believe that the key to driving these positive trends and achieving a sustainable economic cycle is “sustainable finance,” which enhances economic and social sustainability by transforming solutions to social challenges into engines for economic growth.

Regarding decarbonization, last July the government of Japan established the GX Promotion Strategy (“GX” means “green transformation”) to realize more than ¥150 trillion ($1 trillion) of public and private investments over the next decade. Next month, we plan to issue Japan Climate Transition Bonds, the world’s first government transition bonds, to accelerate efforts toward transitioning to a decarbonized society.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (right) chats with Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki at extraordinary Diet session in Tokyo on October 23, 2023. | AFP-JIJI

In addition to tackling climate change, it is vital to promote impact investment, which addresses social challenges such as the aging population and natural disasters and encourages innovation in business models. Through the Impact Consortium, launched in tandem with domestic and overseas stakeholders in the public and private sectors in November, we will lead the establishment of an impact investment market.

It is also imperative to reform the asset management industry and asset ownership, which are responsible for managing household financial assets. To this end, the government of Japan formulated a policy plan for promoting Japan as a leading asset management center last month. This plan includes measures to make asset management more sophisticated, improve governance, solicit new entrants and promote competition. We will steadily implement this plan starting this year.

Sustainable finance, which assists companies in shifting to new industrial and social structures and transforms them into enablers for economic growth, has become globally indispensable for rejuvenating financial markets and building a sustainable society. I anticipate further efforts from market participants in Japan and abroad. The Financial Services Agency will continue its efforts to revitalize Japan’s financial markets, aiming for a financial administration that earns the trust of the Japanese people.

I sincerely appreciate your continued understanding and cooperation in the upcoming year.

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