China’s crackdown on Hong Kong and new limits on overseas workers in Singapore could help Japan raise its profile as a global financial hub, despite its higher taxes, according to Japan’s new vice finance minister.

"It’s impossible to make taxation levels exactly the same” as places where social security costs aren’t as high, Kenji Nakanishi said in an interview Wednesday. "But we often hear that even a small change would make a difference and the government needs to send some kind of clear message.”

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who took office last month and appointed Nakanishi, sees a need to make Japan more inviting for overseas financiers as part of his reform agenda. This week he said he wants to speed up efforts to cut some taxes to this end and make more business services available in English.