*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purposes only.
Friday, January 21, 2022
In front of the Cabinet Room, 2nd floor,
National Diet Building
Soaring Oil Product Prices
Q: Gasoline prices are rising. They may potentially exceed 170 yen next week. There are already strategies in place such as replacing oil grades in national oil stockpiles and mitigation measures against sudden price fluctuations, but are any additional measures being considered?
A: As for countermeasures against sudden oil product price surges, we have established a system that will run an operation to respond to sudden price fluctuations, in addition to industry-specific measures that have already been strengthened. This is in order to avoid a situation where prices burden economic recovery from the pandemic. This system can be put into effect as soon as conditions are met, so the opposition parties have been actively talking about the trigger clause at Diet sessions. Looking ahead to the future in relation to the trigger clause, I think that we will have to consider various aspects if this situation continues. However, since we are trying to cover kerosene and heavy fuel oil (which the trigger clause does not), we are preparing to use these new mitigation measures against sudden price fluctuations rather than invoking the trigger clause.
There is currently no mitigation operation in place against sudden price fluctuations, so I would first like to take steps to ensure that this operation is undertaken appropriately if the conditions are met. This is also related to overseas situations in various ways, and a number of simulations need to be conducted to see when this situation will calm down or if it will continue for a long time. We will make a consistent effort to prevent or minimize the impacts on citizens’ lives.
Japan-US Summit Meeting
Q: My question is about the Japan-US Summit meeting via video conference today.
There are some reports that both governments have determined to establish an Economic 2+2 that includes the ministers of foreign affairs plus ministers of economy. I would like to ask about the status of those discussions, and I would also like to ask what kind of discussions you hope to see deepen in the economic sector at today's meeting.
A: I am hoping that at the Japan-US Summit meeting scheduled for today, they will discuss Japan-US cooperation toward building a free, fair economic order in the Indo-Pacific region, in addition to bilateral cooperation between the two countries on various matters in the economic field.
Although various reports are coming out, this is an occasion where the prime minister will speak directly to the president. Thus, this is not a situation where I can make predictions or say that I would like them to speak on certain themes. While it is unfortunate that this meeting has to be held online, I hope that both leaders can have firm discussions and strengthen the Japan-US relationship.