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Press Conference by Minister Nishimura (Excerpt)

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

10:20-10:33 a.m.
Tuesday, October 11, 2022
Press Conference Room, METI Main Building

Opening Remarks

G7 Digital and Technology Ministers' Meeting

I would like to say one thing regarding the G7 Digital and Technology Ministers' Meeting.
The meeting will be held next year on April 29 and 30 at G Messe Gunma in Takasaki City, in Gunma Prefecture. The name of the meeting will be the G7 Digital and Tech Ministers' Meeting in Takasaki, Gunma.
As the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, I will contribute to the meeting especially from the perspective of digital industry policy and help to make it a success.
During the meeting next year, Japan will lead discussions on various topics of the digital technology field.
These topics will include proposals for new international systems to promote efforts to improve transparency and interoperability between different data governance systems, and to deliberate and implement the use of advanced technologies, toward achieving DFFT (Data Free Flow with Trust). We will work with the Digital Agency, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and Gunma Prefecture, and spare no effort to make the meeting successful.

Question-and-Answer Session


Q: I have two questions.
My first question is about the Sakhalin-1 energy development project.
Russia's President Putin has signed a presidential decree to transfer the project to a soon-to-be-established new company. Sakhalin Oil and Gas Development Co., Ltd. (SODECO)—which is formed by METI and trading houses—owns a 30% stake in the project, and apparently, the consortium is required to notify Russia within a month after the new company has been established if it wishes to continue to hold its stake in the new company. Does the Japanese government have any plans to do so? Also, please tell us your thoughts on this.

A: Since this May, we have had zero crude oil imports from Sakhalin-1. Therefore, this presidential decree will not have an immediate impact on Japan's stable supply of crude oil.
On the other hand, as you are aware, Japan depends on the Middle East for over 90%—now 95%—of its crude oil imports, and we recognize that Sakhalin-1's importance in energy security remains unchanged because it is a valuable source outside the Middle East.
According to this presidential decree—which is also available online—SODECO needs to decide within a month after the new company's establishment whether it will take part. That is what we understand. We are currently checking the detailed conditions and procedures.
I would like to refrain from commenting on our future action at this point in time. Nevertheless, we will closely consult relevant parties to consider concrete actions while obtaining detailed information.

Malaysia LNG

Q: On the 8th of this month, it was announced that Petronas, an important supplier of LNG to Japan, is experiencing trouble at one of its plants in Malaysia. There are concerns that if the trouble is prolonged, it may affect the gas supply to Japan. Please tell us your thoughts on this incident, such as its potential impact on Japan.

A: I understand that on the afternoon of October 4, Petronas declared force majeure on its LNG supply due to a landslide in Malaysia. They are currently investigating the damage from the disaster and its impact on Japanese companies. The Japanese government has strongly requested that Petronas exert all efforts to minimize the impact of the disruption, aiming for a quick recovery and is securing alternative supplies to Japan.
We asked them to take all possible measures to minimize the impacts of the disaster, including gathering alternative supplies from other LNG plants they own.
We will continue to closely discuss the matter with the Malaysian government and Petronas to ensure a stable supply of LNG to Japan. We are now communicating at the administrative level, but I will personally speak to them if necessary.

Q: I would like to confirm something regarding Malaysian LNG, which you just mentioned. I understand that there is an LNG supply base in which Mitsubishi Corp. holds a stake. Have the supplies from that base already been disrupted?

A: The impact on Japanese companies is currently being examined. I have not heard any report to that effect so far.

Nissan Motor

Q: I would like to ask you about the joint statement by the Renault Group and Nissan Motor Co.
On the 10th, the Renault Group and Nissan Motor Co. announced a joint statement which mentioned confirming their strategic common initiatives across markets, products, and technologies, considering Nissan's investment in a new EV company, and restructuring their alliance. Considering that automobiles are one of Japan's core industries, please tell us METI's thoughts on their joint statement.

A: I am aware that Nissan and Renault are holding various discussions to enhance their alliance. However, since this is an exchange between private companies concerning their business management, I would like to refrain from making any comments as a government representative.
That being said, the automobile industry is a key industry that supports the Japanese economy. I believe what is important is that the discussions progress in a manner that the relevant parties are fully satisfied with, so that efforts to increase its global competitive edge—including inter-company alliances—will move forward.
We, will keep a close eye on the situation, including at administrative level.

Last updated:2022-10-24