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Press Conference by Minister Nishimura (Excerpt)

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

10:03-10:13 a.m.
Monday, January 23, 2023
Press Conference Room, METI Main Building

Question-and-Answer Session

Gasoline Subsidies

Q: This month marks a full year since you began providing subsidies for gasoline. I would like to ask again about the effects of and issues regarding the unusual measure, which used a large budget.
Also, although there have been indications that the system will be scaled down, some have pointed out that the system cannot end as long as crude oil prices continue to surge and the yen continues to depreciate. Please tell us your thoughts on the potential loss of an exit from the support measures for energy prices, including the support for electricity and gas rates.

A: Regarding the projects you mentioned that were meant to mitigate fluctuations in fuel oil prices, they have mitigated the impact of the surging crude oil prices on the citizens' lives and economic activity by, for example, limiting gasoline prices to 170 yen when they would have increased to 200 yen. This is one reason why the inflation rate has been kept low compared to rates in other countries.
We intend to gradually adjust the upper limits of subsidies starting in January, and gradually reduce subsidies starting in June, while strengthening measures to guard against the risk of a price surge. We will take these actions as we cannot buck the trend of decarbonization.
Regarding these burden reduction measures, we plan to scale down the extent of the price fluctuation mitigation measures in September, including support for electricity and gas rates.
In the meantime, we will also drastically strengthen our energy-saving and efficiency-improvement measures. We will drastically strengthen them with a budget of 500 billion yen over three years with 2 billion yen directed to support for SMEs. Furthermore, it is necessary to accelerate GX including promoting renewable energy and restarting nuclear power plants.
At this point, I will refrain from making predictions regarding actions we may take in and after September. We will take appropriate action based on future trends in energy prices, GX promotion, energy conservation and improving efficiency, renewable energy and nuclear power.

Last updated:2023-02-01