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Press Conference by Minister Nishimura (Excerpt)

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


10:25-10:34 a.m.
Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Press Conference Room, METI Main Building

Question-and-Answer Session

The Clashes between Hamas and Israel

Q: The armed conflict between Hamas and Israel is continuing and the possibility of a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israel is heightening. Amid such circumstances, what do you think of its potential impact on the supply of oil and other energy sources and on the Japanese economy?

A: The Government of Japan strongly condemns any terror attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian militants. We offer our condolences to the bereaved families of the deceased and our deepest sympathy for the injured.

Tension is building every moment in and around the Gaza Strip. The situation is unpredictable and the Government of Japan is paying close attention to any developments with a sense of concern.

At present, 87 Japanese companies are doing business in Israel, but we have received a report that all Japanese people, except for media personnel, have already evacuated the country after the occurrence of this incident. The Government of Japan will continue to take all possible measures to ensure the safety of Japanese people in the region.

As you pointed out, as the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, I am watching the trends of global energy markets and the impact of this incident on the Japanese economy, including any price hikes, with a sense of caution.

Due to the voluntary production cut by major OPEC+ oil producers, coupled with the current military clash, crude oil prices have been rising and sharp increases in fuel prices are significantly affecting people’s lives and the national economy of Japan. We are very concerned about the impact of such high energy prices on the world economy and the Japanese economy. We would like to continuously strengthen collaboration with the IEA and major oil consumers. We will also endeavor to achieve the stabilization of the global crude oil market, requesting that producers increase production and invest in spare production capacity, while talking to them about the importance of producer-consumer dialogues and collaboration.

The IEA is holding a working-level workshop, and views on various matters have been exchanged among working-level personnel. It is important to restore peace and stability to the Middle East as soon as possible, not only for the Japanese economy, but also for the world economy as a whole. I would also like to take actions and have dialogues as necessary in my position, while closely monitoring the circumstances.

ALPS treated water

Q: I will ask you about the discharge of Fukushima Daiichi NPS’s ALPS treated water into the sea.

On October 16, Russia announced that it will restrict the import of fisheries products from Japan. What do you think of this? Could you also explain how the Government of Japan will respond?

A: We have meticulously provided explanations on the safety of ALPS treated water and Japanese fisheries products to the international community, including Russia, based on scientific evidence in a highly transparent manner.

We have responded to Russia’s requests in good faith and sincere manner to provide all information required based on Russia’s concerns, even in the dialogue on October 10, which Russia suddenly requested, and in the provision of information by October 16, the deadline unilaterally set by Russia. We submitted the information even prior to that deadline.

Additionally, we have responded three times in good faith to the questionnaires on ALPS treated water jointly issued by China and Russia. Against such a background, it is unjustifiable for Russia to strengthen their import control measures for Japanese fishery products without scientific grounds. The decision by Russia goes against the international trend of relaxing and lifting import restrictions on Japanese food products and is extremely regrettable.

We cannot accept such a unilateral decision made by Russia without scientific grounds, and we strongly urge the immediate withdrawal of their measure. The Government of Japan has already conveyed the request through the diplomatic channels of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Last updated:2023-10-17