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Press Conference by Minister Hagiuda (Excerpt)

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

9:44-9:49 a.m.
Friday, December 10, 2021
In front of the Cabinet Room, 2nd floor,
National Diet Building

Question-and-Answer Session

ALPS Treated Water

Q: Regarding the release of treated water from TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station into the ocean, Mr. Fuketa, Chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority expressed his view at a press conference that the release scheduled to start in the spring of 2023 would be delayed if TEPCO failed to submit an implementation plan by the end of this year. What are your reactions to this, and what kind of action do you want TEPCO and the NRA to take?

A: I understand that TEPCO is communicating carefully with the locals and other stakeholders regarding the implementation plan for the release of ALPS treated water into the ocean.
The government's basic policy was made in the spring of 2021 to the effect that the release should start in around two years. I would like to ask TECPO to keep working in line with that policy, and proceed with preparations at a suitable pace while carefully considering people's voices. Chairman Fuketa has made various remarks, but I understand that preparations are steadily underway, so I will observe the situation for the time being.

Q: I have two questions regarding the same topic. METI is supposed to supervise TEPCO. Are there any prospects of TEPCO being able to submit the plan by the end of the year? Do you think you can maintain the goal of spring 2023?

A: TEPCO is responsible for deciding whether it will submit it or not, so METI is not in a position to tell them to submit by the end of the year or postpone the plan. There have been no changes, however, to our basic policy to start releasing in about two years from the spring of 2021, and I believe that schedule has been shared with TEPCO.

Business and Human Rights

Q: The House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress approved a bill to prevent forced labor in connection with the Uyghur issue. What impact do you think it will have on Japanese companies?

A: I believe that now that the bill you mentioned passed the U.S. House, further discussions will be held with the Senate for its enactment in the future.
I would like to refrain from commenting on the impact on Japanese companies at this stage as the bill has not been enacted, but METI will continue to closely monitor regulatory developments overseas, including in the United States, and provide information to domestic companies.

Last updated:2021-12-20