Reform of fiscal investment program to offer ‘no sanctuary’

All aspects of the government’s fiscal investment and loan program will be scrutinized “with no sanctuaries” to ensure the system is overhauled in line with administrative reforms, Finance Minister Hiroshi Mitsuzuka said Feb. 14.

Speaking at a news conference, Mitsuzuka also said this would include discussions on the fate of Japan Development Bank, which some ruling party lawmakers have suggested be privatized as part of efforts to reform the program. The program is to be reviewed Feb. 10 by a newly formed study group to respond to criticisms that it has become too large and is handling areas that would be better managed by the private sector.

The 39-member group is a creation of the Fund Operation Council, an advisory body to the finance and posts and telecommunications ministers. Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto promised a review of the program, which uses funds obtained from postal savings and pensions and lends to public corporations and government financial institutions.