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Press Conference by Minister Nishimura (Excerpt)

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


Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Press Conference Room, METI Main Building

Opening Remarks

Greeting upon resignation

I have just submitted a letter of resignation at the Cabinet meeting. I would like to thank you for your support to me for 13 months since my assumption of the office of the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry in August 2022.
Since I became the minister, I have held 83 press conferences, responded to 1,625 questions in the Diet, and traveled on 43 business trips to various places in Japan 43, including traveling to Fukushima 14 times and visiting 22 prefectures in total. I also went on 12 overseas business trips to 31 countries or regions, traveling 270,000 kilometers in total, which is equivalent to slightly less than seven times around the earth. I have worked using a field-oriented approach, meeting as many people as possible in person, directly hearing what they say and providing explanations.
In the Diet, I achieved the enactment of five laws. I have put 100% of my energy into my duty, so my 400 days in this position have passed very quickly. I have been in office of the minister for exactly 400 days.
I would like to talk about some points during my time in office. Indeed, rising prices, energy, the environment, and green transformation, or GX, have been major challenges. At the extraordinary session of the Diet held last year, we amended the Gas Business Act and the JOGMEC Act, and enacted the GX Promotion Act, which provides for 150 trillion yen in investment, and the GX Decarbonized Power Supply Act, which aims to achieve decarbonization and a stable energy supply using nuclear power and renewable energy.
We will continue to carry on this two-pillar energy policy, approaching resource producing countries for the resources we need and continuing to take measures to address the soaring energy prices.
Secondly, as for the reconstruction of Fukushima, I visited the prefecture 14 times, aiming to tackle this challenge while receiving as much input as possible from the local people. On August 24, the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea started. Until the disposal of treated water is completed, the government must assume full responsibility for carrying out this task.
In response to the call for young METI staff, 55 staff are concurrently working at the Fukushima Culture Art Promotion Office. METI, mainly young staff members who have a strong aspiration toward the reconstruction of Fukushima, will make a united effort to achieve the reconstruction based on new and innovative ideas.
As I mentioned earlier, I traveled to various places across the nation: a total of 22 prefectures on 43 occasions. I have tried to visit as many sites as possible and hear the opinions of local people. I had talks with heads of local governments, with a view to building relationships of trust with them.
Under such circumstances, the amendment to the Shoko Chukin Bank Limited Act, which is intended for SMEs operating in local communities, has been enacted. We will continue our efforts to enable local SMEs to achieve sustainable growth while establishing new business models and receiving support from the Shoko Chukin Bank. We conducted three surveys on the results of the Price Negotiation Promotion Month initiative, and vigorously promoted the measures for >cost-to-price pass-through, including encouraging more companies to announce the Declaration of Partnership Building and giving guidance to those that have been unwilling to advance cost-to-price pass-through.
In the field of international policy, I visited 31 countries and regions, most recently, Africa and the Middle East this summer. While attending international conferences, I developed cooperation with like-minded countries toward achieving resilience of supply chains, the vulnerability of which was a matter of concern and spread the concept of economic security. I also worked together with like-minded countries in establishing domestic production bases of semiconductors.
We have made and will continue to make efforts to realize resilient supply chains through arrangements such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) and the Economic Policy Consultative Committee (Economic “2+2”).
What is of primary importance is innovation that will put the economy on a growth trajectory. Accordingly, we have enhanced support measures for generative AI. For example, regarding AI supercomputers, we have publicly called for applications to promote the use of AI Bridging Cloud Infrastructure (ABCI) developed by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). I visited eight AIST locations and exchanged opinions with researchers engaging in R&D and innovation development.
Related to this innovation effort, we at METI aimed to contribute to formulating the government’s five-year plan for startup development and invited startups to accompany me in my overseas business trips wherever possible. To date, 95 startup companies have accompanied me on my trips. I have already heard that new business opportunities are emerging in their respective regions. We will continue to publicize the ideas of Japan’s startups and their innovative technological capabilities to the world.
Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, which will be held in two years, will be an experimental site for a future society. We will strive to steadily advance construction of the Expo venue and foster momentum for this event across the nation.
With domestic investment expected to exceed 100 trillion yen and reach a record high, and the high levels of wage hikes observed for the first time in the past 30 years, the Japanese economy as a whole is in the middle of great change from the lost three decades. METI has launched a project for reskilling and will direct all policies and resources to advanced fields where Japan leads the world, thereby putting the Japanese economy on a steady growth trajectory.
As you may know, I joined METI in 1985, when it was known as MITI, and 38 years have passed since then. I have seen some changes during this period. For example, I joined the Planning Division under ANRE’s Petroleum Department when I started my career, but there is no longer any division with “oil” in its name. Colleagues who worked together with me in those days are still supporting me as executive officers, although those who joined MITI in the same year as I did have mostly already retired. I have worked with these congenial colleagues, while reminding myself of the aspiration I had at the time of joining MITI, to work for the future of Japan. I would like to express my gratitude to the METI staff members who have worked with me over these 13 months.
Thank you for your attention.

Last updated:2023-09-25