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Press Conference by Minister Hagiuda (Excerpt)

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

8:50-8:58 a.m.
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Press Conference Room, METI

Opening Remarks


I would like to say two things to start.
First, the Kishida administration considers startup growth to be a new growth strategy. To that end, we are launching a task force today that consists of lawyers who specialize in providing legal support on the regulations that startups must comply with when they take on new business ventures.
It is difficult to identify laws and regulations that should be complied with, and to clarify how they are applied to innovative products and services startups try to provide. This creates a huge hurdle for those startups. We recognize that it leads to a situation where innovation in new fields can stagnate, and some startups give up their efforts.
Given these issues, we are launching a task force today that consists of lawyers with expertise in this area in order to provide support from the legal viewpoint to startups that take on challenges in regulatory reform themselves. METI will work together with legal professionals to thoroughly support the creation of startups that can compete internationally as well as the promotion of radical regulatory reform.
Please contact the administrative staff for more information.


Second, related ministries and agencies jointly reiterated a call for attention yesterday on cybersecurity measures that we are asking companies to implement ahead of the long holiday.
The long holiday starts this weekend, and the risk of cyber-attacks has been increasing recently. There is a growing concern that cyber-attacks will occur during or just after the long holiday as they could slip in at a time when business is not as usual.
Thus, before the long holiday, companies should reconfirm their procedures for dealing with potential cyber-attacks and who they should contact if one occurs, and also take another look at their cybersecurity to ensure it is in order. If a company becomes aware of anything suspicious, they should promptly consult either METI or a security-related organization (such as the Information-technology Promotion Agency) in order to take swift action.

Question-and-Answer Session

Coal-Fired Power

Q: In a draft of the joint statement issued at the G7 Meeting of Energy Ministers, Germany, which currently holds presidency of the G7, included the mention of "joint actions to phase out coal-fired power by 2030." Please tell us your thoughts and opinions on how Japan will respond and negotiate.

A: I will refrain from commenting, as the G7 Climate, Energy, and Environment Ministers Meeting will be held next month, and discussion topics have yet to be decided.
On top of that, every country has a different situation surrounding energy. Surrounded by sea with scarce resources, Japan does not have a single perfect energy source that meets S+3E. This makes it important to use diverse sources of energy in a balanced manner.
It is fundamental that we reduce the ratio of coal-fired power in Japan as much as possible on the basic principle that we ensure a stable energy supply. For this reason, we will steadily work on phasing out inefficient coal-fired power toward 2030 and promoting efforts to replace it with decarbonized forms of thermal power by using hydrogen, ammonia, CCUS, and other methods toward 2050.
Japan shares the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, and it is extremely important for Japan to make strong contributions and ensure a stable supply of electricity, which is the foundation of the people's lives and the economy. Particularly in the face of the crisis in Ukraine, we will continue to stress the importance of taking realistic measures based on each country's unique circumstances.

Measures Against Soaring Crude Oil Prices

Q: Regarding gasoline subsidies, I have heard that the Prime Minister will announce today comprehensive measures to curb commodity prices with gasoline subsidies being greatly expanded. If it is increased to 35 yen, for example, consumers may become accustomed to subsidies of this magnitude over a long period, making it harder for the government to find an exit. Please give us your thoughts on this.

A: The recent response to sudden fluctuations remains an emergency relief measure against soaring crude oil prices that is meant to be temporary. We are currently making final discussions to reduce base prices and raise the upper limit on the amount of funding to curb prices while considering proposals by the ruling parties and results of talks between the three parties. Of course, the exit strategy is also important, and we will continue discussions while assessing how long these soaring crude oil prices will drag on.
I do not think it is realistic to keep adding subsidies forever, so I think we must find an exit somewhere, and we will continue discussions in parallel.

Q: This is related to the previous question. I think that the government proposal presented to the ruling parties was to extend the response program until September. Please tell us about the detrimental effects of such subsidies if they become long-term.

A: This program remains a temporary emergency relief measure meant to prevent negative impacts on economic recovery and the people's lives from soaring and volatile crude oil prices, and the pandemic. On the other hand, I understand the concerns that an exit strategy for this program needs to be clarified. We are making final deliberations on an extension of the program while assessing how long these soaring crude oil prices will drag on, and also considering proposals by the ruling parties and results of talks between the three parties. We hope that we can reach a conclusion as soon as possible, but as I have said, we must now start a new system on the premise that an exit strategy is to be formulated in parallel.

Last updated:2022-06-29