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- Press Conference by Minister Hagiuda (Excerpt)
Press Conference by Minister Hagiuda (Excerpt)
*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purposes only.
Friday, December 3, 2021
Press Conference Room, METI
WTO and Services Domestic Regulation
To start off, I would like to bring up two points.
The first point is that last night, the WTO concluded negotiations on the Joint Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation with 67 members. These negotiations have continued since the WTO Ministerial Conference in 2017, and I would like to welcome this conclusion.
The Initiative will improve the transparency and predictability of each country's rules, regulations, and procedures related to the service industry, and they are expected to improve the international business environment.
I will make my staff explain the details later.
Additionally, since the spring of this year, approximately 70 WTO members have discussed measures to address environmental issues such as climate change. In order to accelerate these discussions, Japan is urging each country to adopt a joint statement that incorporates a roadmap for the future as soon as possible. The WTO will also make efforts to advance environmental measures, including promoting the popularization of products and technologies that contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Japan will continue to work with the WTO's Director-General and other countries to improve the WTO's ability to respond to various economic and social challenges without being stopped by the postponement of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference.
Power Supply and Demand
Here is my second point.
The government decided, announced, and advanced measures related to this winter's difficult power supply and demand situation in October. Upon entering the colder December, however, the government once again asked power generation businesses and retail electricity suppliers to make every effort possible to ensure power supply and fuel are well prepared.
In light of this difficult power supply and demand situation, we ask that families and all customers cooperate by using electricity efficiently and conserving energy within reason, such as turning off the lights in rooms not being used.
My staff will explain the current power supply and demand situation and future prospects and measures in detail later.
That is all.
Rising Crude Oil Prices
Q: I have a question about the OPEC Plus meeting.
They decided at today's meeting to maintain the current increase in production, amid concerns that the increase in production may be halted due to the Omicron variant spreading. Can you tell us your reaction to this?
A: Despite concerns about reduced oil demand due to the Omicron variant spreading, I am aware that at yesterday's OPEC Plus Ministerial Meeting, they decided to maintain the existing deal of production increase, and increase production by 400,000 barrels per day in January next year.
I believe some consideration was also given to consumer countries' positions when this decision was made. However, we will continue to pay close attention to developments in the international energy market and impacts on the Japanese economy and urging oil producing countries to increase production in cooperation with relevant ministries and agencies. We will also take industry-specific measures for agriculture, fisheries, etc. and hope to steadily implement measures to mitigate sudden changes in gasoline and kerosene prices.
Q: Regarding crude oil, the international market price seems to have declined slightly from previous levels. If the price continues to decline, will the plan to replace oil grades in cooperation with the United States be carried on?
A: As this measure is a sale of stockpiles to replace oil grades, which we have been planning, there are no changes in the policy to proceed with a sale. As for the timing of selling the oil stockpiles, we will continue to make preparations while closely monitoring developments in the international energy market.
This oil grade replacement will increase the crude oil supply to a certain extent. As a result, it is expected to contribute to stabilizing the international crude oil market when combined with other measures, such as urging oil producing countries to increase their production.
This measure is to replace oil grades and is not intended to reduce prices. There is also no change in the plan to continue preparations to ensure that we will be able to implement mitigation measures to respond to any sudden fluctuations in fuel oil prices. These are emergency evacuation measures that will be implemented for a limited period of time if conditions are considered to be right.