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Press Conference by Minister Nishimura (Excerpt)

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

10:50-11:07 a.m.
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
Press Conference Room, METI Main Building

Opening Remarks

Measures Against Soaring Crude Oil Prices

I would like to mention a few things first.
First, we decided at today's Cabinet meeting to use around 1.3 trillion yen in reserve funds for relief measures against sudden fluctuations in fuel oil prices. We will keep curbing the soaring prices until the end of this December so that they do not adversely affect our economic recovery.
As stated previously, we will keep the benchmark price at 168 yen and cover up to 35 yen per liter above the benchmark. If prices should exceed it even with the maximum subsidy provided, we will cover half of the amount over 168 yen.
Besides, we are keeping an eye on trends in crude oil prices and taking into consideration the fact that these measures are intended to be a temporary emergency response. We will also consider how special grants for regional revitalization are being used to combat these surging prices. We have decided to use extra money from the reserve funds today. We will carefully examine the effects of all those measures and make decisions.

Reviewing Our Energy Policy Based on the GX Action Meeting

Second, I would like to talk about how we will review our energy policy based on the GX Action Meeting and other recent meetings.
The prime minister has instructed us to consider all possible measures to bolster renewable energy and decarbonized energy including nuclear power—necessary to move forward with GX—as viable options for the future and to reach specific conclusions. A council under the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy will play a central role in this task.
The Basic Policy Subcommittee on Electricity and Gas already met on the 15th to start discussing how to reevaluate our electricity system. The Subcommittee on Mass Introduction of Renewable Energy and Next-Generation Electricity Networks will also meet today to discuss how we should move forward with introducing renewable energy.
As far as nuclear power goes, the Nuclear Energy Subcommittee will meet on the 22nd to discuss developing and constructing next-generation advanced reactors.
The Strategic Policy Committee will meet on the 28th, as these renewable energy and nuclear power discussions continue, and take the results of said discussions into consideration for their own meeting.
We plan to hold these discussions in an open format—open to mass media as well—and listen carefully to experts' opinions while we consider how to move forward. Our goal is to reach a conclusion by the end of the year.


Third, I would like to talk about Tokyo GX Week.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is hosting Tokyo GX Week from September 26 in order to drive international cooperation on achieving green transformation (GX).
As you all know, Japan is in an incredibly tense and worrying situation due to an energy crisis caused by disorder in the energy market, soaring prices, tight electricity and gas supply and demand situations. At the G20 Energy Ministers' Meeting, we have seen that other countries are facing the same issues.
Given this situation, it is now more important than ever that we must find ways to speed up energy transitions and ensure energy security simultaneously.
We will hold 10 intensive international conferences on carbon neutrality at this year's TOKYO GX WEEK. We hope this GX WEEK will bring about moves toward achieving global carbon neutrality.
Several ministers that I have met on trips overseas are also scheduled to come to Japan during this time. I am working on ensuring stable supplies of LNG and will continue asking relevant countries to cooperate with us on this issue at bilateral talks and in other forums. I hope GX WEEK will become a platform that facilitates international discussions with the aims of achieving a stable supply of energy, energy security, and carbon neutrality simultaneously.

Typhoon No. 14

Fourth, I will speak about the damage from the typhoon and what is being done to respond to it. There has been a lot of damage. I would like to express my deepest condolences for the lives that have been lost, and my sympathy to those who have been affected by the damage or forced to evacuate.
The government's task force—headed by the prime minister—met yesterday. METI also established its Emergency Response Headquarters and held the first meeting in the morning, and held another meeting in the evening, after the governmental meeting. We are doing our best to promptly ascertain the extent of the damage and making every effort to recover from it.
As for electricity, there were 280,000 power outages reported as of yesterday. As of this morning at 8:30, that number had dropped to 135,700. These outages are happening all the way from Kyushu and Shikoku up to Kanto and Tohoku, but recoveries are being made quickly in the Kyushu region. There was an especially large number of power outages in Kagoshima and Miyazaki yesterday, but traffic is flowing on the expressways again so we are sending additional support from the northern part of Kyushu to those two areas. Power has been restored to approximately 65% of the outage locations as of 8:30 today. We will keep working on restoring power today and do our best to finish between today and tomorrow, with the exception of areas that are still difficult to get into due to landslides and other issues.
We have not seen any reports of serious damage to city gas, LP gas, oil refineries, oil terminals and service stations, but we will stay prepared for emergency situations that may arise by stationing workers that can help with repairs.
We will keep moving ahead with plans that place human lives as the top priority, as instructed by the prime minister.

Question-and-Answer Session

Carbon Credit Market Trial

Q: A carbon credit market demonstration test will be starting on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Please tell us what you expect from this trial and its results toward starting full-scale greenhouse gas emissions trading in Japan.

A: As you said, the carbon credit market trial project will start on the Tokyo Stock Exchange—to whom we have contracted this project—on the 22nd. I recognize that utilizing carbon credits is an efficient way to reduce emissions across society, and that attaching value to reduced CO2 emissions by way of transactions will make investments toward decarbonization more predictable.
Carbon credit transactions have mainly been done privately between businesses until now, and this trial will be the first time such transactions take place on the market. It will help us learn how to design the market so that credits can flow more freely and how we should publicly announce transaction prices.
Europe already has such a market, and there is also a futures market in addition to the real time market. We can study a variety of things, such as how and how often we should display prices and announce them publicly, through this trial project.
METI also plans to start up the GX League in FY2023, which will be a platform for companies to conduct emissions trading voluntarily. We hope the trial carbon credit market will grow into a place where companies in the GX League can carry out actual transactions.

Guidelines on Respecting Human Rights

Q: My question is about the Guidelines on Respecting Human Rights. I believe the Cabinet already made a decision on these guidelines the other day. What do you think of its significance? Do you think it necessary to make them mandatory in the future? European countries and the US seem to be imposing trade and sales restrictions in some cases on top of human rights due diligence. Do you think putting such restrictions or systems in place is also necessary in Japan?

A: We recently released the Guidelines on Respecting Human Rights to encourage companies to make efforts toward respecting human rights. The guidelines also aim to reduce risks for those companies utilizing them as the international community's interest in human rights issues continues to grow. We also recognize that an increase in such companies' corporate value will help make Japan more competitive internationally.
We will continue working to popularize these guidelines so that companies can firmly grasp and comprehensively inspect potential risks in their supply chains based on them.
Also, as you said, European countries and the US are strengthening regulations in order to ensure respect for human rights. I introduced Japan's Guidelines on Respecting Human Rights at the recent G7 meeting, and they were praised and welcomed by the US and other member countries.
On top of that, I believe sharing information with other countries is necessary to ensure predictability for corporate activities, so I want to move forward with international cooperation initiatives as well. The G7 also confirmed that point, and it was included in a ministerial statement.
We will continue to work with relevant ministries and agencies to discuss further policy responses, including the possibility of formulating human rights due diligence regulations in the future. We will do so based on discussions on international cooperation and other domestic and international trends.

Last updated:2022-10-11