*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purposes only.
Friday, September 1, 2023
First floor lobby, METI Main Building
Visit to the Middle East and the United Kingdom
Good morning. To begin I would like to mention one point.
From September 3 to 7, I will visit Palestine, Israel, Türkiye, and the United Kingdom. In Palestine and Israel, I will make a courtesy visit to the presidents, and I would like to work toward the realization of industrial cooperation, including in the innovation field, through policy dialogue with the economic ministers.
In Turkey, which is a major Global South country and home to the largest manufacturing and exporting base in the Middle East, I would like to accelerate the EPA negotiations and strengthen our relationship regarding third-country cooperation through meetings with the trade minister and the energy and natural resources minister.
In the United Kingdom, in addition to holding a ministerial dialogue with the business and trade secretary, I am scheduled to deliver a speech regarding the deepening of the Japan-U.K. relationship at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
China’s suspension of fishery product imports
Q: In response to China’s suspension of imports, yesterday, Prime Minister Kishida instructed the ministers concerned to work out support measures for fishery products by early next week. Please tell me about how METI will deal with this matter in the future and also about the ongoing progress.
A: As you pointed out, yesterday, in light of the strengthening of China’s import restrictions, Prime Minister Kishida instructed relevant ministers to work out a support package.
We are considering five pillars. The first is expanding domestic consumption and maintaining production. The second is preventing reputational damage, both domestically and internationally. The third is changing and diversifying export destinations. The fourth is strengthening processing systems in Japan—that is, seizing this opportunity to add value and implement a structural change. The fifth is ensuring prompt and careful payment of compensation. METI, together with relevant ministries and agencies, is rapidly considering those five pillars.
In anticipation of this situation, we have prepared two funds, one worth 30 billion yen and the other worth 50 billion, totaling 80 billion yen. We have already received requests for consultations and applications, so we would like to implement the budgetary measure and use the funds in a prompt and flexible manner.
In the consultations, we have heard opinions asking for more flexibility in using the funds because some cases are difficult to address under the current framework. Therefore, we are speedily considering flexible use of the funds. We are also examining what matters cannot be dealt with through the use of the current 80 billion yen in funds.
In any case, as Japan is a major country in fishery products, METI, together with the Fisheries Agency, will appropriately consider necessary measures to develop and maintain the Japanese fishery industry.