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Press Conference by Minister Hagiuda (Excerpt)

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

11:21-11:33 a.m.
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
Press Conference Room, METI

Question-and-Answer Session

Business and Human Rights 

Q: A new law in the United States called the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act will come into effect today. The U.S. government is asking for proof that there are no transactions with companies that it has blacklisted. What are your thoughts on the impact on Japanese companies?

A: On June 21, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act will come into effect in the United States. It prohibits imports of goods from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China in principle. In addition, prior to it coming into effect, a list of organizations involved in forced labor in the region and guidance for importers to the United States were published. The Japanese government has been encouraging the U.S. government through calls for public comments on the implementation of the Act and has submitted our opinion that in order to increase the predictability for companies, clear and practical instructions should be shown on what actions companies need to take. As we are aware of the opinion that the law will affect business activities of Japanese companies, we will properly address this issue. METI will continue to gather necessary information and provide it to companies, and, if necessary, talk to the United States so that appropriate business activities by companies can be ensured.


Q: I would like to ask about Toshiba and the public-private funds ahead of Toshiba's shareholders' meeting. There are reports that the Japan Investment Corporation (JIC)—a public-private fund—and another fund under it have sent proposals considering investing in Toshiba. If JIC invests in a private company and makes it unlisted without undertaking business restructuring, people may think that they are using investments to drive out activists. Do you think JIC can make that kind of investment? Please tell us your thoughts.
In addition, I think due to high expectations for a buyout of Toshiba, its share price is surging. What are your thoughts on a public-private fund investing at a premium in this situation?

A: I will refrain from commenting on JIC's potential investment in Toshiba since it is an individual investment project. Generally speaking, though, JIC cannot invest in a company with the aim of just making it unlisted for its management to be facilitated. Rather, they must make investments to achieve policy goals such as creating new businesses or promoting business restructuring.
When a project involves a large investment, in particular, JIC must carefully examine whether sufficient growth investing will be achieved, or whether drastic business restructuring, including in relation to its management structure, will be undertaken, before proceeding.
In addition, even if the target private company is politically important in the context of government policies, ensuring profitability is obviously an important factor, as it is a public-private fund. I believe that JIC will need to carefully determine whether the price for the acquisition of the stocks is at a level that will allow for JIC to sell the shares at profitable levels in the future.
Considering these points, I believe that JIC will make an independent decision on a concrete investment project that will maintain its accountability as a public-private fund.

Last updated:2022-07-19