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Press Conference by Minister Nishimura (Excerpt)

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


Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Press Conference Room, METI Main Building

Opening Remarks

Biomanufacturing Revolution Promotion Project

I will tell you about three points.

First, regarding the first public invitation for the Biomanufacturing Revolution Promotion Project under the secondary supplementary budget for FY2022, applications totaling approximately 150 billion yen were filed against the budgeted amount of 300 billion yen, and applications on six themes totaling 30.2 billion yen were adopted.

Biotechnology is one of the key technologies that can enhance Japan's industrial competitiveness toward achieving carbon neutrality while solving various other societal challenges. This project supports technological development towards utilizing wood, waste oil and other resources that have not been fully utilized in Japan and produce fuel, raw materials, and chemicals, while reducing CO2 emissions with the help of microorganisms and similar resources.

We will also develop labeling systems and promote standardization as required and further accelerate the public implementation of a circular economy.

At 13:00 today, NEDO will announce the information on the second public invitation scheduled for mid-October on its website. Please see the website and ask the administrative staff for more details.

Official visit to France

Second, this week, from September 27 to 30, I will officially visit France to attend the IEA Critical Minerals and Clean Energy Summit. Critical minerals are indispensable for the transition to clean energy and the production of storage batteries. This is the first meeting concerning critical minerals held by the IEA, which has served as a hub for collaboration among countries, amid the growing international momentum to build supply chains that are not dependent on specific countries for critical minerals. The IEA has presented data on critical minerals proactively on such occasions as the G7 Energy Ministerial Meeting. Critical minerals have increasingly attracted attention as an important theme since the last G7 meeting, where the expected roles of the IEA in relation to critical minerals were also highlighted.

At the IEA Summit meeting, I would like to introduce the recycling of critical minerals and relevant technologies and initiatives, in which Japan has strengths. Additionally, I hope to advocate the necessity to strengthen the IEA's functions in the field of critical minerals.

Furthermore, taking this opportunity, I plan to have meetings with participating countries' ministers in charge of energy and minerals as well as with CEOs of large global resources companies. I hope that we will strengthen mutual collaboration with other countries as Japan strives to secure resources and build supply chains.

Official visit to Kyoto

Third, on October 1, I will officially visit Kyoto to attend the Science and Technology in Society forum, or STS forum, which was led by Mr. Omi Koji, who passed away last year. This will be the memorable 20th forum, and I will participate in the plenary session under the theme of "Lights and Shadows of AI."

Rapidly progressing AI technologies, such as generative AI, are innovative and may drastically change our working styles or social and economic structures. As METI has already announced, it has offered support for the expansion of computational resources and for efforts by private companies regarding AI. I think that Japan is in the group leading the world in this respect and METI will strongly support technological development and the creation of new business models in the field of AI.

In the meantime, AI also has intrinsic risks as have been discussed by the G7. I would like to communicate the importance of public implementation of AI while ensuring the well-balanced control thereof, and I think it necessary to establish mechanisms to enable leading, medium-sized enterprises and SMEs to fully utilize AI.

Furthermore, I would like to introduce diverse Japanese technologies in the fields of semiconductors and storage batteries that are necessary for developing AI, as well as in the field of nuclear fusion in which start-ups are playing active roles, at the coming forum on science and technology.


Last updated:2023-09-26