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Press Conference by Minister Seko (excerpted version)

*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purpose only.

9:21 - 9:25 a.m.
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Press Conference Room, METI

Opening Remarks

Visit to France

Minister Seko: Good morning. To begin, I have an announcement. From 30th May to 2nd June, I am going to visit Paris to attend the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, the WTO Informal Ministerial Meeting and the Trilateral Trade Ministers’ Meeting with the US and the EU.
 At the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting, I will participate in sessions regarding trade issues and communicate Japan’s message on the importance of ensuring level playing fields by eliminating market distorting measures.
 At the WTO Informal Ministerial Meeting, I would like to put forth our position that the rule-based multilateral trade system is the basis for the world economy and it is not in anyone’s interests to retaliate with unilateral measures, in addition to calling for the need to reform the WTO.
 As for the Trilateral Trade Ministers’ Meeting, this is the third joint meeting of the trade ministers from Japan, the US and the EU. We are to discuss the joint actions against third countries’ market distorting measures.

Question-and-Answer Session

Trilateral Trade Ministers’ Meeting

Q: US President Trump initiated the Section 232 investigations on imports of automobiles. At this Trilateral Trade Ministers’ Meeting in France, what are you going to discuss with the US first? As for the EU, who would also suffer damages on their car exports caused by the US, Japan might be able to ally with them to deal with the problem. Could you also tell us what you are going to speak about with the EU?

A: As for automobiles and automobile parts, if broad trade restrictive measures on these products were to be put into action, it would provoke global market turmoil and potentially have an adverse effect on the WTO multilateral trade system, which is extremely regrettable. Japan, as a country attaching great importance to the rule-based multilateral trade system, believes that any trade measures should be WTO-consistent.
 In addition, Japanese car manufacturers are creating quality work opportunities in the US and significantly contributing to the US economy. I would like to firmly communicate these messages to the US side, while closely working with the EU on various occasions including this Trilateral Trade Ministers’ Meeting.

Hitachi

Q: As for Hitachi’s nuclear power plant project in the UK, there was a meeting early in May [between Hitachi chairman Nakanishi and UK Prime Minister May], and consequently it was reported yesterday that the board meeting made a decision to go ahead on the project. As METI, or as Japan, what kind of policies do you have on this issue?

A: I am aware of the media reports you mentioned, but as this issue relates only to an individual company’s business decision, I would like to refrain from making any comments on this.
 As for the nuclear power plant project in the UK, I understand that various considerations and discussions will proceed within the related companies from this point forward, so we, as the Japanese government, will monitor the situation closely.

Last updated:2018-06-01