The Finance Ministry announced Monday it has abolished 382 of its 400 nonlegal official notices, or “tsutatsu,” in a bid to promote transparency in its supervision of financial institutions.
Tsutatsu have been long considered a major source of the ministry’s arbitrary control over banks, brokerages and insurers and a cause of scandals such as wining-and-dining bribery cases.
But some of the abolished tsutatsu, which the ministry consider indispensable to the administration, have been effectively changed to different forms or simply placed under different names.
The ministry also abolished 234 of its 243 less authoritative notices, or “jimu-renraku,” which were issued under section chiefs’ names. Tsutatsu papers were issued under bureau chiefs’ names.
One of the abolished notices regulated banks that wanted to rent out part of their buildings in the name of prohibiting banks from engaging in real estate business. The regulations, a ministry official said, were “excessively minute.”
Banks are legally prohibited from entering into such business and should act on their own responsibility, the official said, explaining the abolition of the related notice. A tsutatsu regulation that now has a different form but the same substance calls for “prompt corrective action,” meaning administrative action, including forced suspension of the operations of banks that fail to clear capital adequacy ratios.
That tsutatsu item is now included in “administrative guidelines” to be used by ministry officials in determining how to supervise financial institutions, according to the ministry. Any substantial difference between tsutatsu and the guidelines is not clear.
Some changes may make things tougher for financial institutions.
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