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Press Conference by Minister Hagiuda (Excerpt)

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

9:03-9:10 a.m.
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Press Conference Room, METI

Opening Remarks

Business and Human Rights

Good morning.
I would like to say one thing.
Regarding respect for human rights in the supply chains of Japanese companies and due diligence thereof, METI has inaugurated a study group, and is working to create a cross-industrial guideline. We will work with relevant ministries and agencies in order to formulate it by summer of this year.
In formulating the guideline, we will make it easy to understand in order to help Japanese companies foresee challenges ahead and strengthen their international competitiveness. We will do so taking into consideration the many requests we received through the survey on businesses conducted last November.
In addition to developing the guideline, as I said to all the participants at the G7 Trade Ministers' Meeting last October, it is essential to create an environment in which companies can actively address respecting human rights on a level playing field. For this reason, it is important to raise the predictability of each country's measures through international cooperation.
The formulation of the guideline will clearly demonstrate domestically as well as to the international community that the Japanese government and Japanese businesses will make efforts according to international standards in doing business. METI will continue to work with relevant ministries and agencies to discuss implementing further policies, including the possibility of formulating laws and regulations in the future, and will do so based on domestic and international trends regarding discussions on international cooperation.
We explained these future policies last week to the Prime Minister, who instructed us to advance those policies firmly.
The staff in charge will explain the schedule and other details later.
That is all.

Question-and-Answer Session

Response to the Situation in Ukraine

Q: The situation in Ukraine is intensifying. The NSC was held yesterday.
In the event of an emergency, how do you think it will impact Japanese companies and the Japanese economy, and what trends do you think there will be in the crude oil market? Also, what measures is METI considering?

A: Regarding the impact of changes in the situation in Ukraine, Japan is monitoring the situation with great concern, including the current upward trend of crude oil prices and impacts on Japanese companies. We stay very alert to this situation.
METI intends to take appropriate actions in cooperation with G7 and the rest of the international community. However, due to the nature of this matter, I would like to refrain from commenting on the status of our considerations or coordination.

Coal-Fired Power

Q: The 2022 Article IV Consultation between the IMF and Japan was held the other day. However, some items related to METI's aim to encourage coal-fired power were deleted from the report. Please tell us facts regarding this.

A: The statement released by the IMF that you are speaking of was written by the IMF based on the exchange of opinions between them and the Japanese government regarding Japan's economic situation and policies. The Japanese government is not in a position to comment on the creation process of the statement.
In addition, Japan revised the Overseas Development Strategy for Infrastructure Systems last year based on the content of the G7 Summit Communiqué, and has put an end to new governmental assistance for international coal-fired power generation projects for which emission reduction measures have not been taken.

Business and Human Rights

Q: I have a question regarding the due diligence that you spoke of in the beginning. Regarding the possibility of formulating policies in the future, there are concerns from companies over scheduling, such as what is expected from the formulation of the guideline, and what they should do. Please tell us your expectations.

A: First of all, METI will discuss the possibility of formulating laws and regulations in the future based on domestic and international trends including discussions on international cooperation, and there is no specific schedule at this point in time for when we will formulate them.
Also, as you mentioned, a large number of companies have expressed concerns over what they should do. METI will firmly create a guideline that can serve as indicators in order to increase the predictability for all companies. I understand that there may be some difficulty in terms of understanding what infringes upon human rights. Therefore, we will work hard to create an initiative that will provide specific examples and give all companies a clear understanding.

Last updated:2022-03-07