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Press Conference by Minister Saito (Excerpt)

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

10:54-11:04 a.m.
Friday, December 15, 2023
Press Conference Room, METI Main Building


Opening Remarks

Revision of the export control order, etc.

At the beginning, I would like to mention one point.
In response to the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine, in order for Japan to contribute to international efforts toward world peace, we have made a Cabinet decision, in light of today’s Cabinet approval, to revise the export trade control order regarding a ban on exports to specific organizations located in third countries other than the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus that are suspected of being involved in the circumvention of the sanctions.
The revised order will be promulgated on December 20 and put into force on December 27.
In addition, in light of the Cabinet approval given today for the introduction of a ban on imports of diamonds for non-industrial uses from the Russian Federation, the relevant notification will be revised on December 20, to be promulgated on the same day and put into force in January next year.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will make every possible effort to implement the import and export bans in cooperation with the international community, including the G7, and also with relevant ministries and agencies while keeping a close watch on the situation surrounding Ukraine.
Regarding detailed information, the administrative staff will give you a briefing later.

Question-and-Answer Session

COP 28

 Q: I would like to ask you about COP 28.
COP 28, which was held in Dubai, the UAE, closed with the adoption of an outcome document that included a call for the acceleration of the transition away from fossil fuels over the coming 10 years. To realize that, it is necessary to increase the use of renewable energy and nuclear power. How will Japan implement its transition away from fossil fuels?

A: First, as you know, Japan upholds an international commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and reduce emissions by 46% by FY2030 compared with those in FY2013. In order to honor the commitment, in addition to implementing thorough energy efficiency improvement and conservation and a fuel transition in manufacturing industries, Japan is promoting a transition to carbon-free power sources, including renewable energy and nuclear power. I believe that the decision made at COP at this time is consistent with Japan’s policy.
In addition to introducing more carbon-free power sources, we would like to realize GX investments totaling more than 150 trillion yen by the public and private sectors over the next 10 years through an effective combination of institutional measures such as carbon pricing, and support for advance investments worth around 20 trillion yen using GX economy transition bonds. Through those efforts, we would like to do our best to realize GX with the aim of achieving a transition away from excessive dependence on fossil fuels.

China’s restrictions on Japanese fishery products

Q: Yesterday, you mentioned your wish to visit Fukushima at some time. Following the discharge of the treated water into the sea, China has maintained restrictions on imports of Japanese fishery products. So far, Japan has been calling for the immediate repeal of the restrictions. Please tell me about your thoughts on this matter and specifically how you will approach it.

A: Regarding the treated water issue, the Government of Japan made various efforts to obtain international understanding in preparation for the start of the discharge in August this year, but regrettably, such understanding has not been obtained from some countries.
Therefore, we will continue efforts to obtain understanding on our decision based on scientific evidence, and we must not only prevent reputational damage but also provide firm support for the people who actually suffer such damage, as they are not responsible for this situation.

Aspirations upon taking office

Q: Once again following yesterday’s conference, will you please tell me about your aspirations upon taking office as Minister.

A: As you know, I have taken office amid a severe, cold headwind. Therefore, I do not have a sense of exaltation about serving as Minister. All I feel is a sense of extreme tension and determination as I have assumed grave responsibilities in this severe situation. Moreover, this is the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, an organization for which I used to work, so I am determined to firmly perform my duties.

Last updated:2023-12-15