- Press Conferences and Statements
- Press Conferences
- Press Conference by Minister Hagiuda (Excerpt)
Press Conference by Minister Hagiuda (Excerpt)
*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purposes only.
Friday, June 3, 2022
Press Conference Room, METI
Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters and Reconstruction Promotion Council
I would like to mention one point.
Today, at the Joint Meeting of the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters and the Reconstruction Promotion Council, it was decided to lift the evacuation order for the Specified Reconstruction and Revitalization Base Area in Katsurao Village, Fukushima Prefecture at 8:00 a.m. on June 12. This decision allows original residents to return to their homes within the Restricted Area for the first time in many years. Lifting the evacuation order is not the finish line, but the starting line. We would like to cooperate with the relevant ministries and agencies to create an environment that will allow those who want to return to their homes to do so with peace of mind.
The administrative staff will give the details in a briefing later.
Nuclear Power Plant Policy
Q: Regarding energy policy, in the draft of the Basic Policy presented at the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy the other day, there was an expression "maximizing utilization of nuclear energy," and no expression about reducing dependence as much as possible, even though last year's Basic Policy mentioned reducing dependence. I would like to ask if there has been any change regarding that.
A: In the Strategic Energy Plan decided by the Cabinet last October, the highest priority regarding nuclear energy was safety, and it had the policy of reducing dependence on nuclear power as much as possible while expanding the use of renewable energy. There has been no change to that policy.
The recent Basic Policy has been designed to provide economic management policies to overcome the current crisis. In light of the situation surrounding Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the tight energy supply, it includes a policy of maximizing utilization of energy sources that contribute to energy security and decarbonization, such as renewable energy and nuclear power. We will continue to progress decarbonization efforts toward achieving the ambitious goal of achieving a 46% reduction by FY2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050 while ensuring energy security.
Q: I think that maximizing utilization conflicts with reducing dependence. What are your thoughts on that?
A: There is no change to the government's policy of reducing dependence on nuclear power as much as possible while prioritizing safety and expanding the use of renewable energy. In addition, in light of the situation surrounding Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the tight electricity supply, the government has expressed a policy of maximizing utilization of energy sources that contribute to energy security and decarbonization, such as renewable energy and nuclear power.
It expressed maximizing utilization of energy sources that contribute to energy security and decarbonization such as nuclear power with the intention of utilizing nuclear power while pursuing all options, and I do not think it contradicts the policy of reducing dependence on nuclear power plants as much as possible.
Q: Although this could be an individual matter, Toshiba announced yesterday that it received strategies that included becoming unlisted and is considering ten proposals as options. It has also been reported that several foreign funds have submitted proposals. Toshiba has been designated as a core business subject to preliminary examination under the revised Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act. Is it possible for foreign funds to have 100% control over these core companies? Do you have any concerns, and is it desirable for the government if it forms consortia with Japanese funds such as JIC and JIP? What are your thoughts on this from a security standpoint?
A: I understand that there was an announcement yesterday that Toshiba had received proposals for capital business alliances from potential investors and sponsors who could be partners to Toshiba with the assumption that shares may be unlisted or kept listed.
I will refrain from commenting on the management of individual companies, but as I have answered before, we are aware that Toshiba possesses critical technologies related to national security—such as nuclear power and semiconductor technology—and maintaining and developing its businesses is important. From this perspective, we will pay close attention to future developments.
Generally speaking, Japanese companies engaged in activities related to national security—such as nuclear power generation and semiconductors—are required in principle to submit advance notification in accordance with the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act when foreign investors make more than a certain amount of investment. On this basis, we will rigorously examine whether there is a risk of national safety being compromised.
Q: On another subject, an OPEC+ meeting was held. There was an agreement to increase the production of crude oil. Japan relies almost entirely on imports for crude oil, the prices of which continue to rise. Please tell us your thoughts on the results and your expectations for the future.
A: I understand that at yesterday's OPEC+ Ministerial Meeting there was an agreement to increase production by 648,000 barrels per day next month. I welcome this agreement as it will exceed the pace of increase in production so far.
We have encouraged oil-producing countries in solidarity with consumer countries at meetings such as the recent G7 Climate, Energy, and Environment Ministers Meeting, and since my appointment, I have continuously held bilateral talks with individual countries and made requests to increase production. I thought those efforts have brought about some results, so I was a bit relieved.
However, I think it is necessary to cautiously monitor impacts on developments in the international energy market and on the Japanese economy. We will continue to ask oil producing countries to increase production while strengthening cooperation with the IEA and major consumer countries to stabilize the crude oil market.