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Press Conference by Minister Nishimura (Excerpt)

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

10:45-10:57 a.m.
Friday, December 1, 2023
Press Conference Room, METI Main Building


Opening Remarks

Visit to Osaka

I will mention three points.
First, tomorrow, Saturday, December 2, I will inspect the event hall site in Yumeshima, where Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, is scheduled to be held. As various problems have been pointed out in the Diet, I would like to thoroughly check the progress of the construction site during the forthcoming inspection.
Yesterday, an event to mark the 500 days to go before the opening was held, and advance sales of admission tickets started. Right away I purchased tickets for myself, including a season pass. We would like to ensure that this expo will become an opportunity for Japan to clearly demonstrate its innovations, technologies, and culture to the world. We also hope that it will show exciting technologies to visitors from within and outside Japan and encourage children and young people to take on challenging tasks and set themselves up for the future.
Of course, we will make thorough cost reduction efforts in order to minimize the burden on the people, but while doing that, we would like to make this a wonderful expo.

Expansion of sales channels for fishery products

Second, in response to the suspension of imports of Japanese fishery products by some countries and regions, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and JETRO, has been striving to expand sales endeavors for Japanese fishery products. I myself have engaged in top-level sales promotion efforts on various occasions.
At this time, under MAFF Minister Miyashita’s initiative, METI and MAFF will cooperate in inviting foreign buyers to domestic production areas for scallops and yellowtails from next week, starting in the Sanriku and Fukushima regions.
We have also decided to significantly strengthen efforts to invite foreign buyers to FOODEX JAPAN, the largest food exhibition in Japan, which will be held in March next year. We will continue to cooperate with relevant ministries and agencies in this effort.

Visits to Shizuoka and Aichi

Third, I will visit Shizuoka and Aichi Prefectures on Monday, December 4.
I will first visit Chubu Electric Power’s Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station and inspect the breakwater walls and the inside of the buildings of Units 1 and 2. As the implementation of safety measures and efforts toward decommissioning are making progress, I will check the situations regarding those points.
I will then visit Toyota Motor’s Myochi plant. I will observe a trial production facility for so-called gigacasting, which refers to a next-generation casting technology to be used in EV manufacturing. I would like to observe new monozukuri (manufacturing) efforts and endeavors to successfully fight international competition in the EV sector.
Later, at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology’s AIST Chubu, I will observe research and development activity related to ceramics and metal materials used for mobility products. I would like to observe the development of cutting-edge manufacturing technology and materials unique to the Chubu region.

Question-and-Answer Session

OPEC-Plus Ministerial Meeting

Q: I would like to ask you about the results of the OPEC-Plus Ministerial Meeting, which was held last night through the early hours of this morning.
First, please comment on the results. Also, as the decisions made at the meeting significantly affect the future crude oil market, including gasoline prices in Japan, please tell me about actions which you are considering taking, such as talking to oil-producing countries as the minister in charge of energy.

A: At the OPEC Plus Ministerial Meeting, which was held yesterday, November 30, the policy of making coordinated production cuts in 2024 was reaffirmed. In addition, I understand that some countries have decided to make additional, voluntary production cuts.
As a result of those decisions, the supply-demand balance will tighten and uncertainty will grow, and this could cause oil prices to remain high.
METI will continue to keep a close watch, with vigilance, on the potential impact on the international energy market and the Japanese economy, including high commodity prices.
At the same time, we would like to talk to oil producing countries for stabilization of the global crude oil market through various opportunities, emphasizing the importance of producer/consumer dialogue and cooperation while strengthening cooperation with the IEA and major consumer countries.

China’s export restrictions on graphite

Q: I would like to ask you about the export restrictions on graphite.
The government of China has announced a policy of introducing export restrictions on graphite and related items used as materials for producing lithium-ion batteries, starting this month. As China has a large global share of graphite, relevant manufacturers in Japan have made responses, such as building up stocks and securing alternative procurement sources. Please tell me about your thoughts on the Chinese export restrictions and comment on the impact on companies in Japan and their responses.

A: First, I understand that the export control measures regarding graphite-related items, announced by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce on October 20, will be put into force today.
The Chinese side has explained that the export control measures are being taken for its national security reasons. If inappropriate measures have been taken against Japan in light of the international rules, including the WTO rules, we will take appropriate actions based on the rules while taking advantage of the Japan-China Export Control Dialogue, which has been recently launched.
As we are closely examining this matter, I would like to refrain from commenting on the potential impact.

Last updated:2023-12-06