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Press Conference by Minister Hagiuda (Excerpt)

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

10:42-10:52 a.m.
Tuesday, July 12, 2022
Press Conference Room, METI

Question-and-Answer Session

The Situation in Ukraine 

Q: I have a question about the Sakhalin-2 presidential decree.
You said at a press conference last week that you were seeking an explanation through diplomatic channels, but a representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation said that it had not received any inquiries from Japan. Please tell us specifically what you are communicating with the Russian government. With regard to the demands from the Russian side, please let us know if any facts have been made clear.

A: I am aware of the reports you have mentioned concerning Sakhalin-2 and Sakhalin-1, and I will refrain from commenting on individual reports or explanations.
Also, regarding the recently issued presidential decree, we are making inquiries through diplomatic channels. As I said the other day, we are holding specific talks with Russia. However, I will refrain from providing details.
I believe that the Sakhalin projects will continue to be important for Japan's energy security. We will address this issue in cooperation with the other G7 countries while making every effort to ensure a stable supply of energy.

Q: This is related to the previous question. I believe that there are discussions on a proposal to establish a price cap on payments for Russian crude oil. Prime Minister Kishida mentioned in a street speech for the House of Councilors election that he would create a framework to cap prices at about half of the current price. It will also be a major topic in the meeting between US Treasury Secretary Yellen and Minister of Finance Suzuki. On the other hand, the Russian side has been taking advantage of Sakhalin-2 and other measures to counteract these developments. Please tell us your thoughts on the significance of imposing a price cap, and what impact you think it would have on Japan if it was implemented.

A: I am aware of the remarks you have mentioned by the former Russian Prime Minister Medvedev via media reports. I will refrain from commenting on the remarks of individual politicians.
I understand that the G7 summit will consider the so-called price cap, setting an upper limit on the market price of Russian oil, and comprehensively prohibiting all services that allow transportation across borders for transactions that exceed the price cap. The G7 has also agreed to consider mitigation mechanisms to ensure that the most vulnerable and affected countries have access to the energy market. I understand that this system is intended to reduce Russia's oil revenue while stabilizing the international crude oil market. However, we are still designing a concrete system, and I will not comment at this time on the impact it will have on the stability of Japan's energy supply.
In any case, Japan will continue to advance efforts in cooperation with the other G7 countries and make every effort to ensure a stable energy supply. As you mentioned earlier in your question, the information coming out of Russia includes counterthreats in many senses. For you, members of Japan's sensible mass media, to release such information as it is could be benefiting Russia in a way, so I suggest you thoroughly check the facts.

Visit to Australia

Q: I have two questions about your business trip to Australia. First, your schedule has been pushed back a day. Did that have to do with the incident with former Prime Minister Abe? Second, it is said that it was former Prime Minister Abe who contributed to founding the Quad. Taking that into consideration, what specific outcomes are you aiming for?

A: First of all, the schedule was delayed due to changes in some work overseas. Of course, it was a coincidence. Yesterday's wake and today's funeral were mainly attended by his family members, so I did not plan to participate. Still, since the meeting had coincidentally been rescheduled, I was honestly grateful that I was able to pay my respects.
However, if former Prime Minister Abe, one of the founders of the Quad, had heard that I delayed the meeting to attend his funeral—which I did not—, he would have angrily told me to go attend the Quad. My schedule was not changed for that specific purpose, and I was only able to attended his funeral by chance.
I see the Quad energy ministers' meeting to be held on the 13th as an important meeting where Japan, the United States, Australia, and India discuss accelerating decarbonization and promoting social implementation of clean energy technologies. I hope to directly share insights with the other countries regarding clean energy fields such as hydrogen and fuel ammonia, and to discuss expanding cooperation in the energy field in the Indo-Pacific region, with the aim of strengthening Japan's energy security as a result.
In addition, due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the increasingly tight supply and demand conditions of LNG, I have frequently urged gas producing countries such as the United States and Australia to increase production. As the United States is one of the world's leading producers of LNG and Australia the largest LNG supplier to Japan, I intend to take advantage of this opportunity to once again ask these important partners to increase their production of LNG and provide a stable supply.

Last updated:2022-07-19