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Press Conference by Minister Nishimura (Excerpt)

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

11:10-11:28 a.m.
Friday, December 23, 2022
Press Conference Room, METI Main Building

Opening Remarks

I would like to say four things.

Ministerial Meeting on Nuclear Power and Ministerial Meeting on Final Disposal

First, before today's Cabinet meeting, there was a Ministerial Meeting on Nuclear Power and Ministerial Meeting on Final Disposal.
During the Ministerial Meeting on Nuclear Power, the direction of future nuclear policy and draft action guidelines were formulated based on the discussions at the GX Action Meeting and other meetings. In the near future, we will conduct a public call to receive a wide range of opinions from the public. The procedures for inviting public comments are currently underway.
In addition, we revised the Strategic Roadmap to clarify an ideal path to fast reactor development. We will advance projects for development of demonstration reactors based on that.
Next, at the Ministerial Meeting on Final Disposal, based on Prime Minister Kishida’s remarks and instructions given at the GX Action Meeting yesterday, we decided to establish cooperative relationships with relevant ministries and agencies with the aim of conducting literature surveys of not only Hokkaido, but as many areas as possible across the country. Moving forward, we will consult with the relevant ministries and agencies toward compiling concrete response policies. The administrative staff will explain the details later.

Price Negotiation Promotion Month

Second, please look at the screen. I would like to announce the results of the follow-up survey for the Price Negotiation Promotion Month implemented in September. For the first time, we have calculated the price pass-through rates, which indicate the pass-through compared to the cost increase. Again, the administrative staff will explain this in detail later.
It was 41.7% in March and 46.9% in September, marking a slight increase. Although it was still below 50%, the percentage of not being able to pass on cost increases through higher prices at all decreased. Therefore, pass-throughs were progressing overall.
In addition, the pass-through rate for each industry is shown. Breaking down the 46.9, the lowest rate is about 20% for the truck industry, with broadcast content and others also at very low figures. We will enhance our efforts to provide guidance and advice to these industries that are not in acceptable situations. We will also continue to disclose pass-through rates and support improvements for the negotiating power of subcontractors, especially in the Price Negotiation Promotion Months. Additionally, we will encourage companies to formulate voluntary action plans based on information provided by our inspectors who monitor subcontracting business. We will also request that industry associations systematize improvement processes. We will be steadfast in carrying out these efforts.
We will increase the number of our inspectors who monitor subcontracting business to 300 starting in January and conduct about 10,000 hearings a year. We will continue to take these measures. Of course, we will try to increase partnership declarations by large companies while exchanging views with various industries. By tenaciously implementing these measures, we will optimize pass-throughs and achieve fair transactions toward securing resources of wage increase for SMEs.
We will also cooperate with the Fair-Trade Commission by sharing information including the information that I just mentioned.

Management Guarantee Reform Program

The third item is the Management Guarantee Reform Program. Today, we have formulated the Management Guarantee Reform Program with the Financial Services Agency and the Ministry of Finance in order to create an environment that encourages companies starting new businesses and actively investing capital or taking on new challenges. This program will accelerate the establishment of lending practices that do not rely on management guarantees. While it has been pointed out that the management guarantees have a positive aspect in terms of management discipline, it has also been indicated that it impedes willingness to start a business and curbs drastic business development or early business revitalization.
For this reason, METI will establish a credit guarantee system in the near future that eliminates the need for management guarantees when starting a business. In addition, we will organize the credit guarantee system so that management can choose whether or not to provide a management guarantee at any time, not only when starting a business. In addition, as support for improving SMEs' governance systems to eliminate management guarantees, tax accountants and SME management consultants will support SMEs based on the recently published profitability reform guidelines, which include a checklist.
Furthermore, the COVID-19 refinancing guarantee system as part of the recently approved supplementary budget will begin next year, on January 10.
About 40% of all SMEs use a credit guarantee system based on the number of companies. In terms of the number of loans, 30% of them have been provided by a guarantee association with a guarantee that does not require a management guarantee as the association recognizes those SMEs’ sound governance systems. We will design a system while increasing the percentage so that options that I mentioned can be made available to the management.

Visit to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Malaysia, and the US

This is my fourth item. I will be visiting Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Malaysia from tomorrow, the 24th, to 28th.
Since Saudi Arabia and Oman are important countries in terms of energy security, I will work to stabilize the international oil market and secure a stable supply of LNG. I also hope to strengthen cooperation in new fields such as hydrogen and ammonia. There will also be a business investment forum in Saudi Arabia. I will participate along with missions from about 60 Japanese companies, and I hope that relations between Japan and Saudi Arabia will be strengthened and that discussions between companies of the two countries will advance.
Malaysia is one of our main sources of LNG imports. We are also partners that share diverse supply chains. As there was a change in their administration, I will take this opportunity to ensure a stable supply of LNG and confirm that the two countries will continue to strengthen relationships and cooperative frameworks such as the Asia Zero Emissions Community vision and IPEF.
I will also visit the US at the beginning of next year, from January 5 to 10. In Washington, D.C., I will individually exchange views with relevant ministers and give a speech to CSIS, a think tank.
In addition, I plan to visit the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to observe global trends surrounding startups and the latest electronic devices.
Through these efforts, I will take the opportunity during this New Year's period to visit and strengthen solid cooperation with like-minded countries.
That is all.

Last updated:2023-01-10