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Ministry of Finance

(Zaimushō). One of the ministries of the Japanese government. The Ministry was once named ōkurashō. The Ministry is headed by the Minister of Finance, who is a member of the Cabinet and is typically chosen from members of the Diet by the Prime Minister. The Ministry's origin dates back to the 6th century, when Ōkura was established as a state treasury. When a modern system of government was introduced after the Meiji Restoration, the Ministry of Finance was established as a government body in charge of public finance and monetary affairs. The Ministry has long been regarded as the most powerful ministry in the Japanese government. After various financial scandals in the 1990s, however, the Ministry lost its power over banking supervision to a newly-established Financial Services Agency. It also lost its control over monetary policy conducted by the Bank of Japan. In addition, it lost its ancient Japanese name in January 2001, to be renamed as Zaimushō, although its English name remained the same. Despite this renaming, the Japanese people still use a slang term ”ōkura-daijin," meaning a person controlling a budget (e.g. housewives for family budget matters). In financial markets, the Ministry is famous for its active foreign exchange policy. (from Wikipedia)

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