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Press Conference by Minister Hagiuda (Excerpt)

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

9:01-9:09 a.m.
Tuesday, April 12, 2022
Press Conference Room, METI

Opening Remarks

The Situation in Ukraine

I would like to say one thing to begin.
Japan has been rapidly enforcing strict sanctions against Russia alongside the G7 countries and the international community so that Russia listens to the voices of the international community and stops its invasion as soon as possible.
Last week, following the statement issued by the leaders of the G7 that they will impose additional sanctions on Russia, Prime Minister Kishida announced his intention to establish such sanctions, including bans on imports from Russia.
At today's Cabinet meeting, the Cabinet approved the decision to introduce import bans on some goods from Russia. In light of that, METI will revise its notice and promulgate it today, which will be put into effect on April 19. Items subject to the import bans are alcoholic beverages and some wood, machinery, and electrical equipment from Russia.
The administrative staff will explain the details later.
Japan will continue to take appropriate measures in cooperation with the international community, including the G7.

Question-and-Answer Session

The Situation in Ukraine

Q: I would like to ask about the response to Russian coal.
You recently announced that you are gradually placing sanctions on Russian coal. Please tell us about your responses, the impact they will have on industry, and how soon imports will be reduced.

A: In order to strengthen sanctions against Russia in coordination with each other, the leaders of the G7 nations agreed to promptly advance plans to reduce their energy dependence on Russia, including phasing out and prohibiting coal imports from Russia. On this basis, specific energy-related sanctions will be implemented based on each country's circumstances and energy security policy.
First, we will continue our efforts to diversify energy sources—including renewable and nuclear energy—and supply sources outside Russia, and to urge energy producing countries to ensure a stable supply, while carefully monitoring their impact on power supply and demand and on industry in the summer and winter. Through these actions, we will gradually reduce energy dependence on Russia with the aim of eventually stopping imports from it.

Q: Russia designates Japan as an unfriendly country. Is Russia requesting payments for imported energy in rubles? What is the Japanese government's stance?
Furthermore, Japan's energy security seems to be more dependent than ever on the GCC countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar.
Meanwhile, Japan is under pressure from the United States to withdraw from the Russian Sakhalin-1 and -2 projects. Do you think that there will be higher dependence on Arab countries in the near future?

A: First of all, I am aware that Russia issued a presidential decree on March 31 regarding the payment of natural gas in rubles, but at this point in time, I do not know of any Japanese companies that have been requested to pay for natural gas transactions with state-run Russian companies in rubles.
In addition, Japan relies on the Middle East for approximately 90% of its crude oil and 20% of its LNG imports. Our dependence on the Middle East has not started recently. Rather, Japan has been highly dependent on the Middle East for a long time, for which I am very grateful to those countries.
We have interests in Sakhalin-1 and -2, as they are a stable and inexpensive supply source of energy in the long term and are important for citizens' lives and business activities. Thus, we do not plan to withdraw from them.
I recently traveled to Europe myself and held talks with ministers from various countries, including the United States. I reiterated the importance of energy security suited for the relative demand in each country. Also, I understand that the United States shares the same opinion, so I have not felt pressure from the United States to withdraw, as you mentioned in your question.
Going forward, Japan will continue its efforts to reduce its energy dependence on Russia by diversifying energy sources—including renewable and nuclear energy—and supply sources including the Middle East, and also request energy producing countries to increase production, in accordance with the G7 Summit Statement while securing a stable energy supply for Japan. In that sense, I believe we will continue asking oil producing countries in the Middle East to further increase production.

Last updated:2022-06-29