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Government will take its time deciding on reporting standards, Nakatsuka says

by Jun Hongo

Staff Writer

New financial services minister Ikko Nakatsuka on Friday said the government still hopes to make a final decision on whether to adopt the International Financial Reporting Standards in the next few months, but only after it finishes weighing their potential impact on Japanese companies.

“There are concerns the standards will not fit well with domestic firms. Then there are those who point to the merits of the system, including how it would make it easier for businesses to secure funds overseas,” Nakatsuka said during an interview with The Japan Times and other media groups.

The international accounting standards have mainly been adopted in Europe, but Japan, along with the United States, has yet to decide whether to implement them. Nakatsuka said the government is not necessarily awaiting Washington’s final decision on the matter,but added it is closely monitoring their effects in countries that have introduced the standards.

Nakatsuka served as senior vice minister at the Cabinet Office before being appointed to his new position in Monday’s ministerial reshuffle. He was a close aide to former Democratic Party of Japan leader Ichiro Ozawa, who quit the ruling party in July and formed Kokumin no Seikatsu ga Daiichi (People’s Life First) along with dozens of other defectors from the DPJ.

On the state of the domestic and global economies, Nakatsuka said a number of uncertainties are creating concern, especially the eurozone’s long-running debt saga.

“The government must simultaneously push forward both short-term and mid- to long-term economic measures given the present circumstances,” he said.

Nakatsuka refused to comment on the participation of economic and fiscal policy minister Seiji Maehara in the Bank of Japan’s Policy Board meeting that ended Friday, but he said the government is willing to collaborate with the central bank and do all it can to end deflation. Maehara’s inclusion raised eyebrows because it is more than nine years since a minister has attended a Policy Board gathering.

As for the push by Japan Post Bank Co. and Japan Post Insurance Co. to expand their business, Nakatsuka said they will proceed with caution to avoid putting existing banks and other rivals at a competitive disadvantage. Private financial groups have criticized the banking and insurance arms of Japan Post Holding Co. for allegedly seeking to gain an unfair advantage while their parent company is still owned by the government.

In addition to heading the Financial Services Agency, Nakatsuka was appointed state minister in charge of reversing the declining birthrate and boosting gender equality.

Nakatsuka, a Kyoto Prefecture native, graduated from Kyoto University with a degree in engineering in 1990.