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Interview with the Chairman of the Board of Directors

Chairman of the Board of Directors Hiroko Ota

Mizuho is building an advanced corporate governance system with the aim of increasing our corporate value.

How the Board of Directors meetings are conducted

One of Mizuho's most important tasks is increasing our earnings power. During the 14 meetings of the Board of Directors held in FY2017, the most time was devoted to cost structure reform and identifying the issues that must be addressed to make the in–house company system a success. Since a new medium–term business plan will be prepared during the current fiscal year, the results of these Board meetings will be reflected in the plan, and we will do our utmost to attain our objectives.

My focus as the Chairman of the Board of Directors

For the past four years, I have focused on raising the quality of discussions in the Board of Directors meetings. By having an outside director serve as the Chair of the Board, the sense of counterbalance with the members responsible for execution of business policies is maintained, and this is very important for effective corporate governance. However, in addition to having a sense of counterbalance in the meetings, we also need to foster trust between management and the outside directors. This is why we make arrangements frequently for discussions outside the regular Board of Directors meetings where management and the outside directors can exchange opinions in a more informal setting. Going forward, I will continue to work together with the Board members to ensure that the Board of Directors truly fulfills its role.

What is most important for increasing Mizuho's corporate value

Mizuho is definitely undergoing change, but our governance system can be said to have been successful only when we achieve a substantial increase in profitability. This means we must work much harder and implement further reforms. In addition to making fundamental structural reforms, we must clarify our business portfolio, implement our branch transformation strategy, and take other initiatives. Moreover, other issues going forward include the need to go much deeper in terms of efforts to raise productivity and make major improvements in our fundamental earnings power. We at Mizuho have a broad customer base as well as top–class talent. How we can draw on these resources to demonstrate our potential strengths will hold the key to success. A key element will be our personnel evaluation system; we have changed this system by going beyond deducting evaluation points for mistakes that may have been made and now give credit for accepting and tackling challenges even if the attempt ends in failure. I know it will not be easy to change the mind–set of each and every employee in this regard. It will take time to show results, but doing so will make Mizuho an open and strong organization.

This fiscal year is the final year of our current medium–term business plan, and we must be accountable for results over the past three years under the plan. I would like to conduct the Board of Directors so that outside directors and management will share a sense of urgency and a drive to get things done.

What we expect to accomplish under the new corporate governance system

In April 2018, we were off to a new start under the leadership of our CEO, Tatsufumi Sakai. As a member of the Nominating Committee, I was involved in his selection as the CEO. I am looking forward to Mr. Sakai's strong energy as well as his capabilities for dealing with difficult issues to see us through this period of rapid change. We will aim to have the business execution side led by Mr. Sakai and the outside directors share a common vision and support Mizuho's transformation.