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Press Conference by Minister Hagiuda (Excerpt)

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

11:09-11:17 a.m.
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
Press Conference Room, METI

Opening Remarks

ALPS Treated Water

Good morning. I would like to say one thing to begin.
Today, an action plan was compiled at the Ministerial Conference for the steady implementation of the basic policy on the disposal of ALPS treated water.
This action plan will give shape to the current measures that were compiled in August and speed up the implementation of these measures by managing its progress. In the future, if there are any items that need to be added, we will flexibly revise the current measures. Based on the action plan, the government will work in unison to further advance these measures.
Please contact the secretariat for more information.
That is all.

Question-and-Answer Session

Soaring Crude Oil Prices

Q: The schedule for the release of oil stockpiles was announced yesterday. On the other hand, crude oil prices have recently been declining, mainly due to concerns over the economic slowdown caused by the spread of the Omicron variant. For this reason, there have been doubts regarding the effect of releasing oil stockpiles now. I would like to again ask about the significance of releasing stockpiles in the current situation.

A: The sales of oil stockpiles for replacing oil grades will be conducted ahead of an original schedule which we have ordinarily been doing, while taking into account recent developments in the crude oil market and cooperation with the United States and related countries. In this regard, we began giving public notifications yesterday for approximately one hundred thousand kiloliters of oil prepared for sale at the Shibushi National Oil Stockpiling Base among the hundreds of thousands of national oil stockpiles that have been considered for sale.
Regarding national oil stockpiles at other bases, we will continue to follow the sale procedures, such as public notices and tenders, in accordance with laws and regulations while closely monitoring developments in the international energy market.
You asked about its effects, but as I explained earlier, there was a plan to replace the oil grades in early spring, and we simply decided to take the opportunity and bring it forward based on the suggestions from the United States and other allies. We do not expect this measure to immediately lower the prices of petroleum products and crude oil, so we will prepare steadily.


Q: I would like to ask you about the distribution of NFTs, which prove that goods traded digitally are genuine. I understand that the ministry is experimenting with them in the field of fashion. However, it is expected that they will lead to new business opportunities in various fields in the future. What do you think? What kind of involvement and support do you think the government can offer?

A: As you mentioned, by utilizing block chain technology, NFTs can ensure that digital pictures are genuine and record transactions. For example, fashion designers and other people in the fashion industry sell NFTs of their own works, thereby securing a different source of income from mass production, and it is predicted that by returning part of the revenue in the resale market to producers, they can also lead to incentives that provide sustainable fashion.
With this in mind, we established the "Study Group on Fashion Futures*" in November of this year and are preparing a demonstration project on the utilization of NFTs. We will continue to closely monitor this technology as it has the potential to transform various industries.
*Tentative translation

ALPS Treated Water

Q: I would like to ask about the treated water at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. It has been eight months since the government decided on its policy for its disposal. You visited Fukushima Prefecture the other day and met with Mr. Nozaki, the chairman of the Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations, and I think Mr. Nozaki said that he would continue to oppose the release into the ocean.
Please give us your thoughts again on how you see talks to convince the parties involved have progressed and how you will convince them based on the current situation and the action plan.

A: I believe it is important that we continue to make efforts to gain the understanding of the people involved, including fisheries. The fisheries and other local people have given us an opportunity to explain the safety of ALPS treated water and other issues. The other day, I talked directly with the Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations.
Based on the action plan compiled today, we will continue to explain to the local communities so that they can have a better understanding, and we will implement measures in a flexible manner to prevent rumors and ensure that businesses continue with peace of mind.

Last updated:2022-01-21