*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purposes only.
Friday, November 19, 2021
Press Conference Room, METI
Q: You met with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Raimondo and USTR Tai from the 15th of this month and launched the Japan-U.S. Partnership on Trade. What kind of advantages does it have for Japan? It could also be seen as an effort to gather allies to form a coalition against China. How will the Japanese government maintain the balance between Japan-China and Japan-US relations?
A: On the 15th, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Raimondo and I agreed to establish the Japan-U.S. Commercial and Industrial Partnership (JUCIP). And on the 17th, I confirmed the launch of the Japan-U.S. Partnership on Trade with USTR Tai.
I believe these partnerships will enable Japan and the United States to further strengthen our economic cooperation in a variety of fields, including enhancement of industrial competitiveness, supply chain resilience, and trade. These partnerships are to strengthen bilateral relations between Japan and the United States and are not intended as efforts with a specific third country in mind.
To answer generally, China is the second largest economic power in the world and Japan's largest trading partner. While calling for the establishment of a fair and equitable business environment, we hope to further develop sound economic relations with China.
Q: I have two questions regarding semiconductors. The most recent economic measures include a large amount of assistance for semiconductors. My first question is about your opinion on the validity of the assistance. Japan has taken a critical stance against market-distorting subsidies in international forums. Providing subsidies to attract factories has a risk of leading to semiconductor prices collapsing in the future, and there are concerns that the subsidies might be inconsistent with the WTO principles. Will you please tell us your view on such concerns?
A: Major countries are currently spending large sums of money to attract advanced semiconductor manufacturing plants, and I believe that establishing a stable supply system for semiconductors is critical from a security standpoint as well.
Developing such manufacturing bases has great significance for the public interest, contributing to the enhancement of supply chain resilience and the digitalization of Japan as a whole.
We will discuss concrete support measures in the future, but it is, of course, important to make sure that the system follows international rules, including the WTO agreements. Therefore, I do not believe that such criticism is justifiable at this stage.