Table Speech

My Thought on Fintech

April 24, 2019

Mr. Nobuo Kuroyanagi
Senior Advisor, MUFG Bank, Ltd.

 “Fintech”, a coined word combining “Finance” and ”Technology”, is much talked about these days. It is generally interpreted as a series of movements for making financial affairs highly convenient and comfortable using digital technology. Among them cashless transactions are attracting much attention. As Japan is falling behind the global cashless trend, the Government is taking a lead of various measures which are forcing financial institutions to take difficult responses under the harsh low interest rate circumstances.

 If Fintech is interpreted as on-line movements, it started already over 50 years ago in banks. In the 1960s the long-used abacus became redundant. Calculations and record-making of deposits and withdrawals were computerized. In the 1970s a cash dispenser was developed and the Interbank Data Telecommunication System started operation. In the 1980s information systems were established. Now you don’t need to go to a bank as you can make transactions using smartphones. Cashless ratio in Japan using credit cards or electronic money remains about 20% compared with 40 to 90 % in other countries. If account transfers or direct debits via bank deposits are counted, however, it rises to 54 %, not necessarily far behind.

 In Society 5.0, a super smart city Japan is taking a lead, all the industries will be involved. With the progress of cashless trend and declining need for cash, financial institutions will not be able to survive just by introducing IT or robots trying to improve efficiency.

 Commission business is now taken away by new players including so-called platformers like GAFA, only an infrastructure function like direct debit might remain in banks, for which I feel a growing sense of crisis.

 It is not easy to foresee how financial institutions should respond to technical innovation expected to advance even more rapidly now. Let me point out two initiatives expected for financial institutions.

 Firstly, technical innovation equipped with safety and security, the utmost mission for financial institutions, and try to upgrade services and lower commissions fully considering safeguarding of customers’ assets and protection of personal information

 Secondly, datalization that is turning various accumulated data into useful information and utilize for customers, on the assumption of acquiring understanding from customers. As an administrator of data, banks are expected to convert these data into assets and enhance their value.

 Finally, as OB from a financial institution, I would like to ask those in active service to live up to the expectations of customers.

Management Environment of Private Universities for Women

April 24, 2019

Mr. Yuji Fukushita
President, The Joshibi University of
Art and Design Educational Corporation

 Today, let me talk about the management environment of private universities focusing on women’s universities and the significance of their existence.

 The management environment of private universities is extremely severe now, as we are facing the “2018 Crisis for Universities”. The 18-year-old population started to decline in 2018 and many universities are on the verge of not meeting their intake quotas or experiencing financial deficits.

 To overcome such hardships, many private universities are taking various measures for survival. Unfortunately, women’s universities face severer challenges as a higher percentage of female students now choose to enroll in co-educational universities and women’s empowerment accelerated to make them choose a wider variety of faculties and subjects. As a result, the popularity of women’s universities declined to the extent that there was an argument for questioning the need for women’s universities. Today I want to highlight the significance of women’s universities on three major points.

 Firstly, by providing an “educational environment only for women” at the important period of their life, students can fully devote themselves to study without being conscious of the opposite sex and enter the society with confidence that they have achieved something by themselves.

 Secondly, to foster “leadership” in female students. Although the Basic Act for the Gender-Equal Society was enacted in 1999, Japan is lagging behind the world standard and men are still taking leadership in many areas. As women have to exert leadership in women’s universities not relying on men, they acquire decision-making and executive capabilities.

 Thirdly, to provide a “role model”. There are abundant role models from which students can learn on a daily basis in women’s universities. In some universities, the majority of teachers are female and students will become more career-oriented by observing them every day.

 Let me now introduce some unique career education initiatives taken by women’s universities which have proved to be quite successful. Ochanomizu Women’s University and Nara University for Women are guiding students to aim at pursuing an executive career path rather than general office work. Tsuda University set up the Department of Policy Studies two years ago and are fostering women with leadership skills and problem-solving capacity. Showa Women’s University has actively promoted career education and has achieved the highest employment success rate among women’s universities in Japan 8 years in a row. Other women’s universities like Kagawa Education Institute of Nutrition which boasts the highest success rate of State Examinations, or ones highly specialized in professional education like Tokyo Women’s Medical University, Sport Science University for Women or University of Art and Design for Women where I serve as Chairman.

 I believe the significance of women’s universities will be sustained and their management environment will improve thanks to various initiatives taken for survival.