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Press Conference by Minister Nishimura (Excerpt)

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

8:35-8:44 a.m.
Friday, October 27, 2023
In front of the Cabinet Room, 2nd floor,
National Diet Building

Opening Remarks

G7 Trade Ministers' Meeting

First, I want to talk about one matter.
On October 28 and 29, the G7 Trade Minister's Meeting will be held in Sakai, Osaka, and I will attend as the chair.
This time, the meeting invites leaders of the five partner countries, three international organizations and seven representatives from industry for the outreach session for the first time. Discussions will be held on the sharing and embodiment of the principles regarding resilient and reliable supply chains. Participants will also discuss trade and sustainability.
The EU-Japan High-Level Economic Dialogue and bilateral meetings with participating ministers are also scheduled. This time, we will discuss the important theme of WTO reform toward the WTO's 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) to be held next February, as well as the other key topic of measures for securing fair conditions of competition and countermeasures against economic coercion.
We intend to confirm the unity of the G7 and share the significance of collaboration among partners beyond G7 members.

Question-and-Answer Session

ALPS treated water

Q: In the ALPS building at Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi NPS, workers were exposed to contaminated water during the cleaning of pipes and two of them were taken to hospital. What is your reaction to this? Could you explain your view on safety management and safety measures for the relevant work? At present, the review mission consisting of the IAEA officials and international experts is conducting verification work for the safety of ALPS treated water. Could you also explain your view on the progress of the review mission and the potential impact on the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea?

A: The incident you mentioned occurred when workers were cleaning the inside of the pipe connected to the ALPS, I heard. They say that there were points to improve, such as thoroughly ensuring that workers appropriately wear clothes suited to the particular work. Those workers wore Tyvek suits for radiological protection but did not wear anoraks or parkas, which prevent water from infiltrating. Although they did not violate any regulations, there were points to improve in that sense.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry gave guidance to TEPCO to thoroughly take recurrence prevention measures and make the utmost efforts for ensuring safety. We provided the relevant information immediately to the IAEA.
The IAEA review mission is visiting the NPS this week and is conducting monitoring after the discharge of ALPS treated water and on-site inspection of the equipment. During the IAEA's review mission, we reported the incident to them. We would like to sincerely accept any comments from the IAEA on the entirety of the discharge of ALPS treated water, including the latest incident, and expend all possible means to ensure safety. We have not heard that those workers have any health problems, but we instructed TEPCO to continue its utmost efforts for ensuring safety.
The IAEA will publish a report on findings through the current mission within this year. We will continue efforts for ensuring safety while continuously receiving reviews of the IAEA.

G7 Trade Ministers' Meeting and news coverage on the breakdown in merger talks between Kioxia and Western Digital

Q: Regarding this weekend's G7 Trade Ministers' Meeting, themes for discussions may include economic coercion and supply chain resilience. But there are various other problems, such as suspension of imports of fisheries products from Japan, expected suspension of exports of graphite, and in particular, Russia's protracted aggression against Ukraine. Could you explain your plans toward the coming meeting?
Second, there was news coverage that merger talks between Western Digital and Kioxia broke down. How do you view this?

A: First, as I mentioned earlier, in the coming G7 Trade Ministers’ Meeting, I would like to share the principles regarding resilient and reliable supply chains with people from the industrial arena and partner countries, including those in the Global South, and discuss how to embody those principles.
On the second point, I would like to have discussions to accelerate WTO reform toward the WTO Ministerial Conference to be held in February next year.
In those discussions, I would like to demonstrate the unity of the G7 in coping with economic coercion and securing fair conditions of competition. Additionally, as countries in the Global South, namely, India, Indonesia, Chile, and Kenya, will participate in the coming meeting, I would like to discuss the future directions of the issues I just mentioned with ministers of those countries.
With regard to Kioxia and Western Digital, as I have not heard that they have made any official announcement, I will refrain from making any comments. However, I recognize that Kioxia is a significant company possessing manufacturing bases and technologies for advanced memory semiconductors, which are indispensable in accelerating digitalization in the future, including the development of generative AI. The Government of Japan has offered support for Kioxia's capital investment.
From the perspective of economic security, which is very important, I think it necessary to strongly support the maintenance and expansion of the relevant manufacturing and technological bases.
We will follow up the developments and would like to take action from the perspective that I just mentioned.

Last updated:2023-10-27