*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purposes only.
Tuesday, August 1, 2023
Press Conference Room, METI Main Building
China’s export control
Q: Today, the Chinese government will start imposing restrictions on exports of items related to critical minerals such as gallium and germanium. As these are materials for manufacturing advanced semiconductors, there are concerns over the impact on Japanese companies.
First, what is your reaction to that?
Also, at a previous press conference, you indicated a policy of appropriately dealing with this matter based on international rules, including the WTO rules. How does the Government of Japan intend to deal with this matter?
A: I understand that the export control measure concerning items related to gallium and germanium announced by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce on July 3 was put into force today. The Chinese side explains that this export control measure has been taken for reasons of national security. Nonetheless, Japan will examine the status of its enforcement, and if an unjust measure is taken in light of international rules, including the WTO rules, Japan will appropriately respond to this matter based on such rules.
ALPS treated water
Q: Please tell me about the current status of deliberation on the timing of the discharge of treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
Last weekend, you provided explanations to officials of the local fishermen’s associations, and next month, a trilateral meeting of Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) will be held. Do you think that the decision should be made after an understanding has been obtained through explanations provided on those occasions? Please tell me about the current situation.
A: I visited the fishermen’s association in Fukushima Prefecture on July 11, the National Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations on July 14, the fishermen’s association in Miyagi Prefecture on July 29, and the fishermen’s association in the Sousou region and Iwaki City on July 30 to provide explanations about the efforts to ensure safety and prevent reputational damage and measures to maintain livelihoods. I listened to frank and earnest opinions, including concern about reputational damage and the maintenance of livelihoods, from the officials of those associations.
Earlier, relevant ministers convened under Prime Minister Kishida to share information on efforts made by relevant ministries and agencies, including efforts made by METI under my leadership. The Prime Minister instructed us to continue government-wide efforts to ensure safety, prevent reputational damage, provide careful explanations and disseminate information to the local communities and the international community. Based on this instruction, we would like to continue to carefully and appropriately respond to the fishermen’s requests and concerns one by one.
Relevant ministries and agencies will continue to work as one to ensure safety and prevent reputational damage and provide careful explanations. We hope to engage in close communication and deepen relationships of trust with the local stakeholders.
As for the specific timing of the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea, we have indicated that the discharge will start between spring and summer this year, and there has been no change in that policy. The decision on the specific timing will be made after the status of efforts to ensure safety and prevent reputational damage has been examined and shared on a government-wide basis.
As you pointed out, METI will adhere to the policy previously explained to the fishermen’s association in Fukushima Prefecture. We will adhere to our policy that no action will be taken without the understanding of stakeholders. We will continue to engage in close communication and deepen relationships of trust.
China’s export control
Q: With respect to the Chinese export control measure concerning items related to gallium and germanium, which was mentioned in the question asked at the beginning, you said at a previous press conference that METI was conducting interviews with businesses concerned. Am I correct in understanding that the impact has already started to appear?
A: As this export control measure is put into force from today, we will examine the status of its enforcement going forward. While looking at the status of enforcement and the supply and demand of relevant items, we will consider measures such as the diversification of supply sources, recycling, and conservation of resources.
Looking at the situations in other countries and in major industries, my understanding is that the impact will not appear in the immediate future, and yet we will keep a close watch on the situation.