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Press Conference by Minister Hagiuda (Excerpt)

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

8:40-8:48 a.m.
Friday, February 25, 2022
In front of the Cabinet Room, 2nd floor,
National Diet Building

Opening Remarks

Response to the Situation in Ukraine

First of all, I would like to say something about the situation in Ukraine.
I strongly condemn the recent invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, which infringes upon the sovereignty of Ukraine and the integrity of its territory. Any unilateral change of the status quo by force is totally unacceptable, and it seriously defies the rule-based international order. From the perspective of the security of Japan, I cannot ignore it.
In response to this situation, METI convened yesterday a task force on the situation in Ukraine, headed by me, and based on the instructions given by Prime Minister Kishida at the National Security Council held earlier, we will implement the following four points:
The first point is to ensure the safety of Japanese companies operating in Ukraine.
We are already checking the evacuation status of Japanese nationals at Japanese companies, but we will continue to work in cooperation with relevant ministries and agencies.
The second point is to ensure a stable supply of energy.
In addition to addressing risk of soaring energy prices, we will work in cooperation with the international community, including major consumers, oil and gas producers, the International Energy Agency, and other relevant international organizations to take swift and flexible responses, such as urging energy producers to increase production.
In response to surging crude oil prices, we will cooperate with relevant ministries and agencies to quickly establish additional measures, including enhancing support through mitigation measures against sudden price fluctuations of gasoline, diesel oil, kerosene, and heavy fuel oil, in order to protect the citizens' lives and the Japanese economy.
The third point is to support Japanese companies affected by this situation.
Specifically, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI), and other organizations will establish a consultation desk, and NEXI will be instructed to respond promptly to insurance payments.
Furthermore, we will make every effort to support small and medium-sized enterprises. Specifically, we will establish a special consultation desk at government-affiliated financial institutions and SME associations, and relax the conditions for safety net loans by the Japan Finance Corporation and other institutions. In addition, we will ask financial institutions to give consideration to their financing, and issue requests for business associations to give consideration to subcontract businesses regarding pass-throughs.
The fourth and last point is to establish trade sanctions.
Specifically, we will promptly implement measures such as bans on imports and exports to and from the so-called Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic, stricter scrutiny of exports of general-purpose goods to Russia, and prohibition of receiving payments for export to Russian military-related organizations. In order to implement similar export control measures in cooperation with the United States and European countries, Japan will promptly develop relevant laws and regulations controlling exports to Russia of general-purpose goods, semiconductors, and other items listed on regulatory lists based on international agreement.
METI will continue to monitor the situation cautiously, minimizing its impact on the Japanese economy, and working in cooperation with the G7 and the rest of the international community to ensure security.
That is all.

Question-and-Answer Session

Soaring Oil Product Prices

Q: Russia has started a full-scale invasion into Ukraine. Some say that additional measures should be taken early in response to the surging crude oil prices, as the price of crude oil has risen to over $100 per barrel.
You also mentioned the mitigation measures. Please tell us when you plan to take additional measures.

A: Crude oil prices, which were already high, are on an increasingly upward trend due to the situation in Ukraine, and there are concerns about the impact it will have on corporate activity and daily life. We will continue to carefully monitor the movements of crude oil prices.
We will promptly establish additional measures from the viewpoint of minimizing impacts on citizens' lives and economic activity, while also assessing how long these soaring crude oil prices will drag on.
We will work closely with the countries concerned and the IEA to take appropriate action regarding oil stockpiles while monitoring future developments.

Response to the Situation in Ukraine

Q: This is related to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. I believe there are many goods imported into Japan from both countries. Which items do you have concerns over the supply of? Please tell us about any impact it will have on industry and how the government will respond.

A: First, while the situation in Ukraine is intensifying, we are monitoring its impact on Japan's economy with great concerns, particularly the movements of energy prices. Currently, we have checked crude oil stockpiles as well as inventory levels of LNG at power and gas companies, and we believe that this situation will not immediately have any major impact on a stable supply of energy for Japan.
On the other hand, regarding the surging crude oil prices, we will enhance mitigation measures against sudden price fluctuations and strengthen other measures that have already been in place in a multilayered manner.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, we will establish a special consultation desk for small and medium-sized companies affected by the surging crude oil prices at government-affiliated financial institutions and provide financial support and make requests regarding pass-throughs.
In addition, JETRO and NEXI will establish consultation desks to support companies affected in their international transactions. I have not heard of any significant impact on the international supply chains at this time, but we will continue to monitor the situation closely.
We are reviewing specific imported items, but we are not yet aware of any direct impact on domestic industry.

Last updated:2022-03-24