The Increasing Complexity of Money due to Cashless Transaction Systems

The daily handling of money is growing more electronic and involves fewer physical cash exchanges. This is exemplified by the use of ATM cards for bank accounts and by credit cards, Internet banking, Internet shopping, smart card tickets, and electronic money. People are using such cashless transaction systems at an increasingly younger age, which is creating previously unforeseen issues related to the functions and value of money. At home and school, the adverse effect this may have on children's sense of finances and morality is a concern. Therefore, it is important that we teach children the importance of money through financial and economic education in schools.*

In everyday life, while financial transactions are becoming easier and more frequent, financial crimes, such as the use of nonexistent accounts and fraudulent transactions, are on the rise. Many people, young and old, are acquiring too much consumer debt or becoming victims of financial crimes.

*   The need for financial and economic education in schools
In 2000, Japan's Financial Council pointed out the need for the financial education of consumers, and in 2002 requested that the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology further promote financial education in schools. The Japanese government and the Bank of Japan designated 2005, when full deposit guarantees were removed, as "Year 1 of Financial Education" and began promoting it. In 2007, Japan's Central Council for Financial Services Information released the Financial Education Program:Courses to Develop Societal Life Skills and presented a teaching plan for financial education in elementary, middle, and high schools. Continuous efforts have been made ever since to improve financial literacy from a young age, such as including financial and economic education in the curriculum guidelines for a wide range of grade levels.

Initiatives to Contribute to Society Utilizing the Management Resources of Our Core Businesses

Based on these social needs for financial and economic education, Mizuho has drawn on its wide range of practical knowledge and know–how about finance, cultivated through the provision of comprehensive financial services, to provide continuous support for financial education.

Fostering Children's Life Skills through Financial and Economic Education

In a narrow sense, financial and economic education "is the promotion of correct knowledge and understanding of personal money management and the financial system." In a broader sense, it means "nurturing attitudes that enable young people to understand the various movements of money and finance, think deeply about their own lives and society through this process, and refine their own lifestyles and sense of values so that they learn how to act independently in creating a richer livelihood and a better society" (The Central Council for Financial Services Information 2007).

"Refine their own lifestyles and sense of values" includes a broad range of elements, from morality such as the importance of trust in our social lives and the nurturing of a work ethic and an occupational perspective, to the appropriate use of financial services and protecting ourselves from heavy debt and financial crimes.

Financial and economic education is largely defined by such approaches to money, utilizing wide-ranging topics viewed from various perspectives. As our economic and social environments become increasingly diverse and complex, we might think of financial and economic education as education that fosters each person's life skills.

Based on the idea of developing a deeper understanding of finance from a younger age so children can become independent consumers in an increasingly complex and globalized society, Mizuho continues to engage in initiatives for financial and economic education with a particular focus on the elementary and secondary education level and the higher education level.

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