Credibility of municipal bonds to be underscored

The national government and 28 local governments will jointly brief investors and underwriters on Oct. 22 about the creditworthiness of publicly offered municipal bonds.

The briefing will be given to institutional investors, banks and underwriters, including brokerages, at a seminar in Tokyo, the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications said.

The seminar will be the first in which all 28 local governments that publicly issue bonds will participate. They include the Tokyo, Kyoto, Hokkaido, Shizuoka, Osaka, Hiroshima and Fukuoka prefectural governments.

The seminar will be held at a time when critics of the strained national finances are calling on local governments to raise funds to pay for policy measures on their own without drawing excessively on money from the national government.

Hyogo Gov. Toshizo Ido and Shinobu Shiikawa, section chief of the ministry’s local government bond bureau, will brief seminar participants on a mechanism designed to ensure the reliability of municipal bonds, it said.

They will speak to investors and underwriters about the mechanisms under which the state ensures that local governments have the fiscal resources to redeem the outstanding bonds they issue.

They will also outline a mechanism by which the national government bars certain local governments — whose bond-servicing expenses eclipse a certain prescribed limit — from floating additional bonds.

A ministry official said the ministry will explain that local government bonds “are a borrowing tool without any risk of borrowers defaulting on resultant debts.”

After the initial explanatory session, each local government will brief investors on the state of its finances and outlook for fiscal health, it said.