*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purposes only.
Friday, March 24, 2023
In front of the Cabinet Room, 2nd floor, National Diet Building
Appointment of Chairpersons of Incorporated Administrative Agencies
I would like to talk about two points.
First, today's Cabinet meeting approved the appointment of the chairpersons of five incorporated administrative agencies under METI's jurisdiction, including the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation (NITE). The appointments will be effective on April 1, 2023. For more information, please refer to the materials that will be distributed later.
Renewable Energy Surcharge and Purchase Prices
Second, today, we will announce the renewable energy surcharge rate for FY2023 and purchase prices for FY2023 onward.
The surcharge rate for FY2023 will be 1.40 yen per kilowatt-hour. It was calculated using the methods stipulated in the Act on Special Measures Concerning Procurement of Electricity from Renewable Energy Sources by Electricity Utilities and reflects the recent surge in market prices. This marks a decrease of 2.05 yen from the FY2022 price of 3.45 yen. Therefore, a typical household that uses about 400 kilowatt-hours will pay around 820 yen less per month, representing an annual decrease of 10,000 yen.
Regarding purchase prices, with respect to the opinions of the Calculation Committee for Procurement Prices, we will establish a new category of panels installed on roofs for solar power generation for businesses. Its price will be 12 yen per kilowatt-hour, which is about 20% higher than the price for the ground installation category. We will support the introduction of renewable energy in an effective manner to spread its use in harmony with local communities.
The administrative staff will explain the details later.
Q: Yesterday, Toshiba announced that it will accept the buyout proposal by JIP's consortium. Please tell us your views on this matter.
A: I am aware that Toshiba decided to accept a 2 trillion yen acquisition proposal by the consortium led by JIP at yesterday's board meeting, and that it announced it will make a TOB based on the proposal.
I will refrain from commenting on the details disclosed by Toshiba since this is an individual investment project. In any case, Toshiba is a very important business that possesses critical technologies related to national security, including nuclear power, semiconductors, and quantum technology. I believe it is important to allow such businesses to grow and develop, so I would like to keep an eye on the situation.
ALPS Treated Water
Q: I would like to ask about the ALPS treated water.
In a joint statement of the summit meeting held recently by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Putin, they expressed serious concerns about the plan to discharge treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Please tell us your views and what kind of response you think is necessary to neighboring countries that do not change their stance regarding the discharge, which is scheduled to happen this spring or summer.
A: I am aware that in the joint statement issued after their summit meeting, China and Russia expressed serious concerns about the discharge of the ALPS treated water into the sea.
Although we use the term "ALPS treated water," they used the term "radioactive contaminated water." I am aware that they expressed serious concerns, although they misunderstood the facts.
Regarding the safety of the ALPS treated water, we have been continuously providing scientific explanations and information to the international community, including China and Russia, through briefings to diplomatic corps and foreign media in Tokyo. In addition, we have received many review missions by the IAEA, with experts from both China and Russia participating each time. On every such occasion, Japan provided detailed explanations on the safety of the facilities for discharging the treated water and details of the environmental impact assessments of radiation effects.
Japan's exchanges with the IAEA are also posted on a special website for the ALPS treated water set up by the IAEA, and it states that Japan is acting in accordance with the IAEA's recommendations. I understand that information on Japan's efforts is being communicated in a very transparent manner through the IAEA's website and other methods.
Mr. Grossi, Director General of the IAEA, has also stated that the IAEA is confident that the treated water will be discharged in full compliance with international standards and that the discharge will not cause any harm.
I have heard that the IAEA will conduct a review and release a comprehensive report in the first half of this year. We will communicate information thoroughly, including the details of the report. The IAEA will also conduct monitoring with participants from research institutes in third party countries before the discharge. It will conduct monitoring with participants from research institutes in South Korea, France, the US, and Switzerland. I have heard that it will also conduct periodic monitoring after the discharge with research institutes in third party countries, and we will thoroughly communicate the information gained from the monitoring.
In any case, we have consistently provided detailed explanations and scientific evidence, and will continue to communicate information in a highly transparent manner.
We have assiduously worked to provide explanations to various countries to gain their understanding, and some now support Japan's position. We will continue to consistently and diligently communicate information based on scientific evidence.