*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purpose only.
11:32 - 11:45 a.m.
Friday, December 21, 2018
Press Conference Room, METI
Japan-Russia Economic Relations
Q: I would like to ask about your meeting with the Russian Minister of Development and Economic Affairs this week. The US has been imposing economic sanctions on the EU and Russia. Do you think this will affect Japan-Russia economic cooperation? The amount of trade between Japan and Russia has been reduced compared to four years ago. Would you provide a roadmap to expand this?
A: While continuing to communicate closely with relevant countries, including the US and the EU, Japan intends to advance Japan-Russia relations based on its own national interests, and intends to continue Japan-Russia economic cooperation as always.
With regard to expansion of Japan-Russia trade, the eight-point cooperation plan has now been materialized, about 150 projects are currently in place and more than half of them have been started. I would like to work on this issue by steadily advancing these projects.
I would like to mention that the latest trade data between Japan and Russia from January to October 2018 indicates an increase by approximately 18% from the previous year.
Q: With regard to the Japan-EU EPA, the EU Ministerial Council has approved it, so it will enter into force on February 1 next year. Would you tell us what your thoughts are on this, as the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry?
A: At today's Cabinet Meeting, it was decided to notify the EU side that the domestic procedures for bringing the Japan-EU EPA into force have been completed.
With the approval of the EU Ministerial Council yesterday, domestic procedures on the EU side have also been completed, and mutual notifications are scheduled to be issued today. This will bring the Agreement into force on February 1.
This agreement will create a huge economic bloc with a population of 600 million and about 30% of the world's GDP. I believe that, amid growing protectionist movements around the world, Japan and the EU will demonstrate to the world their strong will to promote free trade.
METI believes that it is important to maximize the effect of this agreement for the Japanese economy. We would like to provide detailed support through various efforts, including providing information through briefings in various regions, and making use of the Consortium for New Export Nation, which we originally created on the premise of TPP, in order to promote the overseas business expansion of SMEs and medium-sized enterprises.
Former Nissan Chairman Ghosn
Q: It has been reported that former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn was arrested for the third time, on suspicion of aggravated breach of trust. Would you tell us what your thoughts are on this? I think that it will increase the possibility of becoming a diplomatic issue, so would you also give us your comments on this?
A: I would like to refrain from making comments on the judicial judgment and investigation. I do not know whether this will develop into a diplomatic issue.
However, with regard to the issue of the Nissan-Renault Alliance, I believe it is important that the alliance be continued on a stable basis, and the future alliance will be formulated in a manner that is satisfactory for all parties concerned.