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Press Conference by Minister Nishimura (Excerpt)

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

9:37-9:49 a.m.
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
Press Conference Room, METI Main Building

Question-and-Answer Session

Restart of Nuclear Power Stations

Q: Let me ask a question in relation to the restart of Japan Atomic Power Company’s Tsuruga Power Station Unit 2. In response to a series of errors found in the documents submitted by Japan Atomic Power as part of the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s examination procedure, it is expected that a decision will be made to issue an administrative guidance instructing Japan Atomic Power to correct and resubmit the documents by the end of August.
Regarding Tsuruga Power Station Unit 2, although the examination procedure was resumed in December last year, the situation has since then remained such that substantive examination cannot be conducted. The government has made a cabinet decision on the policy of using nuclear power as a power source that contributes to green transformation (GX). Under this basic policy, in order to make maximum possible use of existing nuclear power stations, a plan was indicated to extend the period of operation, albeit with some limitations. As the minister in charge, what do you think of this situation where Japan Atomic Power has been unable to properly follow the examination procedure?

A: As stated in the communique issued at the G7 Sapporo meeting, five countries using nuclear power—Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada—reaffirmed the policy of using nuclear power as an important energy source for ensuring a stable energy supply and promoting decarbonization.
As the safety examination for individual nuclear power stations is under the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s jurisdiction, I will refrain from making comments. However, from the standpoint of the minister in charge of overseeing nuclear power station operators, I consider it very regrettable that a series of errors has been found in the documents they submitted.
When it comes to nuclear power, ensuring safety is the top priority, so it is important to earnestly follow the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s examination procedure. I would like Japan Atomic Power to take the issues pointed out by the NRA seriously, and I hope that they follow the examination procedure with a resolve that this is a last chance, so to speak, and with a sense of alarm.


Q: I understand that U.S. Trade Representative Tai is scheduled to visit Japan and is expected to have a meeting with you. With regard to IPEF, which will naturally be a theme of your meeting, there is talk that a ministerial meeting will be held in the United States next month. Please tell me about the current status of and future outlook on the negotiations.

A: As U.S. Trade Representative Tai is scheduled to visit Japan, I would like to have a meeting with her if possible. As for the IPEF, which you mentioned, since the negotiations started in September last year, three face-to-face rounds have been held and I am very glad that active discussions are being held in this manner.
The next round of negotiation is scheduled to be held in Singapore on May 8-15. The APEC trade ministers’ meeting will also be held in Detroit in late May at the earliest. We are negotiating the details of holding minister-level talks on the sidelines of the meeting with the aim of determining future courses of action.
I would like to continue to closely cooperate with relevant countries’ cabinet members so that concrete results can be delivered at the earliest possible time. IPEF stretches from India to Fiji and covers countries not included in the CPTPP, such as Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, so it occupies a very important position when we consider future cooperation with the so-called Global South countries. We will strive to ensure that solid results can be delivered at an early date.

Last updated:2023-04-18