02/28/2012 Dormant Bank Accounts

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(Committee Member, Mr. Yasuo Tanaka)I am Yasuo Tanaka representing the People’s New Party and New Party Nippon.
I would like to continue the questions from the Budget Committee meeting of February 17, regarding dormant bank accounts which are currently receiving widespread attention.
In the previous Budget Committee meeting, I pointed out that such an idea of using the funds in the dormant accounts for the earthquake disaster reconstruction will not receive public understanding. It will appear underhanded as though the government wants to play its hand after others have revealed theirs in the rock-paper-scissors game. Moreover, if the funds from the dormant accounts are incorporated into the disaster reconstruction funds, I am concerned that this scheme will result in the same past failures such as the unnecessary government organizations filled with cunning people gathering around the money like termites and the joint public-private ventures mismanaged by retired bureaucrats who landed cushy jobs thanks to their past employment affiliations.
At the time of the last meeting I introduced the Grameen Bank which Muhammad Yunus established in Bangladesh in 1983. Muhammad Yunus recieved the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. It is called microfinance or micro-credit where the bank provides low interest rate unsecured loans. It lends, for example, unsecured loans to those women who want to start a textile factory.  In Japan, we can use microfinance to help, for example, people with disabilities to start their venture business. The David Cameron Administration in the U.K. has launched “Big Society Bank” with a similar concept. Here the funds from the dormant accounts are not merely taken into the national treasury where they become invisible. Big Society Bank has the same concept of utilizing the funds for the society as Grameen Bank.
I believe we should utilize the dormant accounts with such concepts and we need to do it immediately.  Today, I ask Mr. Motohisa Furukawa for his view on the matter.
(Minister of State, Mr. Motohisa Furukawa)The idea to utilize the dormant accounts described by committee member Mr. Tanaka originally comes from the U.K.. As he pointed out, we need to create a new society in Japan similar to the “Big Society” launched by the Cameron Administration in the U.K.  In this sense, I basically share the same idea as Mr. Tanaka.
The Council of Promotion for Growth Finance has established an executive committee, which will review and discuss how we could create such a finance structure. The executive committee will take into account these examples brought up by Mr. Tanaka, input from non-profit organizations, various proposals already submitted, and the systems in place in other countries. We also need to ask the public for their opinion.
Utilization of the funds is not specific to the earthquake disaster reconstruction, but more generally to help construct the future era of Japan. I believe we need to use the funds to create new industries and employment opportunities and to help social business enterprises such as non-profit organizations.
(Committee Member, Mr. Yasuo Tanaka)Thank you.The concerned funds are the common property of the nation. These funds are not the property of the banks, and they do not belong to the termites.  From that perspective, I ask the committee by all means to study and follow the concept of “Big Society Bank” and the Grameen Bank.
By the way, as I reported in the previous committee meeting, the major financial institutions exemplified by three megabanks have not paid corporate tax nor have they paid a corporate enterprise tax for the past 15 years. However, the profit they make from their dormant accounts is 30.3 billion yen for the three megabanks alone, 46 billion yen for other banks, and 12.2 billion yen for the credit union, the credit association, and the labor credit union, amounting to a  total of 88.5 billion yen for the fiscal year ending 2010 March 31. This is the undisclosed data of those financial institutions, if I may add.
On the other hand, the dormant accounts of the postal savings are governed by Article 29 of the old Postal Savings Act, that says if 20 years pass after the maturity of fixed term postal savings and no depositor claims savings withdrawal in two months after the notification, the depositors lose their rights over the savings.  Under the Postal Savings Act and Article 25 of the Postal Life Insurance Act, such funds are paid into the national treasury.  The postal savings are already operating in this manner. I further request these dormant accounts of postal savings to be treated as they are in the Grameen Bank method by all means.
Finally, I would like to direct a question to Mr. Michihiko Kano. As for the Agricultural Cooperative Union, known as JA Bank, no data for the dormant accounts has yet been made public. I ask if this matter has been investigated and if so when it will be disclosed.
.(Committee Chairman, Mr. Nakai)Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr. Kano, please answer the question briefly as time has come to the end for Mr. Tanaka’s question time.
(Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr. Kano)About the dormant accounts of the agricultural financial institutions, I will cooperate with Financial Services Agency to grasp the situation as soon as is practical.
(Committee Member, Mr. Yasuo Tanaka)Thank you for your answer. I ask you to disclose the figure as soon as possible. I have no further questions..
(Committee Chairman, Mr. Nakai)This concludes the question time of Mr. Tanaka.