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Press Conference by Minister Seko (excerpted version)

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

9:33 - 9:39 a.m.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Press Conference Room, METI

Question-and-Answer Session

Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)

Q: The Japan-EU EPA is to be signed today. What are your thoughts on the significance of the signature successfully reached today, under recent circumstances surrounding trade?

A: I believe that the Japan-EU EPA will be a model for the 21st century’s trade and investment rules, which means the EPA is fair, free and open and maintains the very highest standards. In addition, it is very significant in terms of the volume it covers: it will create an economic zone which covers 600 million people, accounting for about 30% of the world’s GDP, and about 40% of the world's trade volume; for Japan as well, it is estimated to increase real GDP by about 5 trillion yen, and increase employment by about 290 thousand people.
 In particular, as protectionist tendencies increase in strength around the world, the signing of this Japan-EU EPA also has strategic significance by reiterating to the world the unwavering political will on the part of Japan and the EU to boldly push forward with free trade.

Japan-US Nuclear Energy Agreement

Q: Though I already asked the other day, could you again explain your thoughts on the Japan-US Nuclear Energy Agreement which became automatically extended today, and whether you received any new reports from relevant divisions in charge of the Agreement?

A: The Japan-US Nuclear Energy Agreement has been in force for 30 years and its initial period of validity expired on July 16, but in accordance with the agreement, it is automatically extended unless either party provides the other with a notice of termination. This Agreement is one of the foundations of Japan's nuclear activities, and is also quite important from the perspective of Japan-US relations. Therefore we intend to continue working closely with the US in order to ensure its stable implementation.
 As there have been no changes to this policy, I did not receive any additional reports or explanations from the officials in charge.

Q: I recall your remarks the other day that you would like to explain thoroughly to the US about Japan’s efforts to reduce its plutonium stockpiles. Could you tell us specifically when and through what opportunity you intend to do so?

A: As this is especially related to Japan-US negotiations, I would like to refrain from referring to any details. At this time we have not yet decided on any actions.
 At any rate, Japan has always worked closely with the US on this plutonium issue.

Q: In addition, I believe that this issue should be explained not only to the US but also to the entire East Asia region or internationally. What are your thoughts on this?

A: We have thoroughly explained our policy regarding the reduction of plutonium stockpiles to the IAEA and other organizations around the world to the degree that our explanations to the international community on this policy have been made clear and widely accepted.

Last updated:2018-11-21