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Press Conference by Minister Hagiuda (Excerpt)

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

8:43-8:50 a.m.
Tuesday, May 31, 2022
In front of the Cabinet Room, 2nd floor,
National Diet Building

Question-and-Answer Session

G7 Climate, Energy, and Environment Ministers Meeting

Q: First, a joint statement compiled at the G7 Climate, Energy, and Environment Ministers Meeting included the goal to predominantly decarbonize the electricity sector by 2035. How will Japan work toward this, and what level of decarbonization is considered "predominant"?

A: We will still be on the way to becoming carbon neutral in 2035. However, progress in innovative technologies and the uncertainty that comes along with social change make it difficult to forecast a specific power supply structure at this time.
That being said, we will do everything we can to work toward this agreement to predominantly decarbonize the power sector by 2035 by pursuing all options—including renewable energy, nuclear power, thermal power, hydrogen, and CCUS—while securing a stable, inexpensive energy supply.
I also take the agreement using the word "predominantly" to mean that countries should do everything they can within their limits, as each country's energy circumstances are obviously different.

Q: I have one more question.
At the same Energy Ministers Meeting, the ministers agreed to phase out coal-fired power generation for which emission reduction measures have not been taken. How and when will Japan stop using it, and what is your take on the roadmap toward that?

A: I understand that the joint statement from the G7 ministerial meeting was crafted to take into account each country's situation, which includes what Japan has taken every opportunity to assert up until now.
It is fundamental that we reduce the ratio of coal-fired power in our power supply structure on the basic principle that we ensure a stable electricity supply. More specifically, we will steadily work on phasing out inefficient coal-fired power generation toward 2030 by implementing regulations and guidance, and promote efforts to replace it with decarbonized forms of thermal power by using hydrogen, ammonia, CCUS, and other methods toward 2050.


Q: My question is about IPEF, which launched the other day. When do you expect Japan to join the negotiations? Also, there were four themes announced. Which one would you first like to start negotiating on, and with which country?

A: As noted in the joint statement, participating countries will start with discussions toward future negotiations in four areas. No further details or timeframes have been decided yet, but Japan's position is that we must start with what we can do to produce real results from an early stage. I want this framework to produce tangible benefits in areas such as facilitating trade and investment, the digital economy, making supply chains more resilient, and infrastructure which includes decarbonization and clean energy on the premise many countries will participate in as many areas possible with each country’s actual conditions taken into consideration. I currently have no idea what theme we will choose first, or which country we will discuss it with.

Q: Also, is Fiji already considered a member? Do any other countries seem likely to join at this time?

A: I have heard reports that Fiji has expressed its intention to join. Fuji seems to have strong intention to join the framework as the indication was made when China's foreign minister was visiting the region, so I would like to welcome them. I have not yet known of any other countries trying to join.

G7 Climate, Energy, and Environment Ministers Meeting

Q: What parts of the joint statement from the recent G7 Energy Ministers Meeting do you think are consistent with Japan's current energy policy, and do you think any parts of the policy will need to be revised?

A: Since being appointed, I have thoroughly explained Japan's energy situation at bilateral and multilateral meetings. The EU seemed to want to push their rules at first, but I believe we came to today's ministers' joint statement as a result of our explanation that the situation in Japan is also shared by Southeast Asian countries. Thus, I believe that what we asserted is included in the statement, and that our current situation is well understood.
In no way do I intend to slow forward momentum, but I did tell the European officials that if we rush forward too fast, some countries will not be able to keep up. I believe this outcome was also the result of a long talk with the chair country's minister, so in that sense, what we have asserted has been fully recognized, and there do not seem to be any real conflicts over Japan's carbon neutrality schedule. The environment is now in place in which we can proceed with our efforts on our well-thought-out schedule.

Last updated:2022-07-07