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Press Conference by Minister Hagiuda (Excerpt)

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

10:38-10:51 a.m.
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Press Conference Room, METI

Opening Remarks

Power Supply and Demand 

I would like to say four things to start.
Regarding power supply and demand, we issued our first ever tight power supply warning in TEPCO's service area yesterday. We asked yesterday that residents try to conserve energy—mainly in the evening, when the reserve ratio is low—and thanks to everyone's cooperation, we were able to maintain a stable supply of electricity. Thank you very much.
We are doing what we can to increase our supply, such as increasing the output from thermal power plants and receiving electricity from other power utilities, but the supply and demand situation is still critical. Thus, we are issuing a second tight power supply warning today. However, we ask that people do what they can to avoid heatstroke by using air conditioning and other cooling methods properly during the hottest hours of the day.
As TV programs and other media reports have shown, some elderly people are turning off their air conditioners following our request to conserve energy. We do want people to use their air conditioners properly when it is this hot, and while we generally suggest setting them to 28 degrees, everyone's perceived comfortable temperature is different. Room conditions can also make a difference, and old air conditioners may be inefficient. It is important to keep your room at a temperature that is suitable for your body, so please just do your best to conserve electricity without compromising your health.
What we are asking is that people use energy efficiently and conserve it reasonably, such as by turning off lights you are not using. We expect the tightest power supply and demand situation to be in the evenings, so please try to refrain from using electric kettles, dryers, and other items that use large amounts of power during those hours. We ask that people turn off any machines they aren't using, while being very careful to avoid heatstroke.

Points for Energy Conservation

Secondly, to ensure steady progress on demand-related measures in the future, we will introduce a new measure inviting as many people and companies as possible to participate in power-saving programs that provide incentives to reduce the burden of electricity prices that power companies charge.
More specifically, we will try to launch a system that grants 2,000-yen’s worth of points to each household participating in power companies' energy conservation programs sometime in August.
Toward this autumn and later, we will also accelerate preparations to support power companies’ initiatives for giving extra points to households and businesses that will further engage energy conservation programs on days when it suddenly gets cold.
We are also using a total of one trillion yen in special grants for regional revitalization to start providing subsidies to local industries, whose electricity charges have risen sharply from last year, along with providing benefits to families with small children. I hope to see efforts like these expand across the country.

Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters

Here is my third point. Today, at a Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters meeting held via remote discussion, we decided to lift the evacuation order for the Specified Reconstruction and Revitalization Base Area in Okuma Town, Fukushima Prefecture, at 9:00 a.m. on June 30.
Okuma Town is where the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station is located, and I recognize that lifting the evacuation order on the Restricted Area, which, before the earthquake, had been the central part of Okuma Town, is a major step toward the town's future reconstruction.
Lifting the evacuation order is not the finish line, but the starting line on the road to reconstruction. I would like to continue cooperating 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 explain the details at a later time.

White Paper on International Economy and Trade 

Fourth, the 2022 White Paper on International Economy and Trade was presented to the Cabinet today.
This white paper shows the impact that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has had on the global economy in terms of food and energy supply constraints and soaring prices, trade and finance complications, and more. It also notes that rising global uncertainties have made it clear that dealing with the following four trends is necessary: progress on digital transformation, growing geopolitical risks, prioritization of common values such as climate change and human rights, and governments' shifts to aggressive industrial policies.
The paper also showcases the importance of finding opportunities for economic growth as a future policy direction for Japan. These opportunities may come through ensuring economic security, visualizing increasingly complex supply chains via data collaborations, addressing common values such as climate change and human rights, creating value by actively collaborating on DX and undertaking joint projects with other parts of Asia, and enhancing investment in intangible assets. I intend to advance trade policy comprehensively from every angle based on this white paper.

Question-and-Answer Session

G7 Summit

Q: I have a question about the G7 Summit. Talks are moving forward at the G7 summit to cap the price of Russian crude oil. This is assumed to be related to the surging crude oil prices worldwide. Please explain the significance and goal of this price cap.

A: The G7 decided to place an embargo on Russian oil this May, and as a result, Russia has exported less to the G7 countries. However, they have exported more to other countries, and crude oil prices are still surging further. Given that, Russian oil export amounts and values are only seeing marginal decreases right now. I understand that for this reason—to avoid the situation in which the embargo has little effect due to some countries serving as a loophole for Russia—a price cap on Russian oil is being discussed at the current G7 Summit.
On the other hand, Russia is implementing countermeasures in response to the G7 strengthening its sanctions: it has cut off its supply of gas to Europe, and actions such as this are threatening energy security of some counties, especially in Europe. It is reported that Germany, for example, has decided to restart coal-fired power plants. We recognize that Germany is also aiming to become a carbon-neutral society in the medium to long term, but at the moment, it has made the policy decision to prioritize securing a stable supply of energy in the short term.
Japan will continue its decarbonization efforts to achieve the ambitious goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 while, at the same time, ensuring energy security and standing with the international community—including the G7 countries—on sanctions against Russia.

Last updated:2022-07-19