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Press Conference by Minister Saito (Excerpt)

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

9:34 a.m. to 9:40 a.m.
Friday, February 2, 2024
Press Conference Room, METI Main Building


Opening Remarks


To begin, I would like to mention one point.

To enhance capabilities for developing generative AI, we will launch GENIAC, a project to promote support for securing the computing resources that are necessary to advance development and cooperation between relevant organizations.

As part of the project, we have decided to provide support to seven companies that develop foundation models that constitute AI core technology. They include startups, such as SakanaAI, which has been founded in Japan by an AI researcher who previously worked for Google.

Generative AI is a technology that could bring changes to various sectors of society. We will continue efforts to enhance generative AI development capabilities with a sense of urgency, so that Japan can continue generating innovation into the future.

As for detailed information, the administrative staff will provide a briefing later.

Question-and-Answer Session

IAEA’s safety review report

Q: The other day, the IAEA published a report stating that the discharge of ALPS treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station is consistent with international safety standards. Please provide your thoughts on that. Also, Chinese members were included in the investigation task force. What is your assessment of the effects on China’s measure to suspend imports of fishery products from Japan? Based on the report’s findings, please also explain what approaches you will take toward the immediate repeal of the measure that Japan has been urging.

A: The report, published on January 30, indicated that regarding the efforts made by Japan, the task force did not identify anything that is inconsistent with the requirements of the relevant international safety standards. Our understanding is that the safety of the discharge of ALPS treated water into the sea has been confirmed once again. We will make every possible effort to ensure safety by continuing to conduct checks based on international safety standards through the IAEA review missions.

As for the relationship with China that you mentioned, at the Japan-China summit last year, the two countries agreed to find ways of resolving this issue through consultation and dialogue with a constructive stance while recognizing the differences between their respective positions. Therefore, Japan will continue to carefully explain to China the safety of ALPS treated water and the monitoring results, including the report’s findings, with a high level of transparency, through expert-level dialogue. We will also strongly urge the immediate repeal of the import restriction on Japanese food products.

Nippon Steel’s plan to acquire US Steel

Q: Regarding Nippon Steel’s plan to acquire US Steel, former U.S. President Trump remarked that he will absolutely prevent the acquisition if he were reelected. What is your view on that?

A: Of course, I am aware of the media report that you mentioned. However, I would like to refrain from commenting on specific remarks made by a presidential candidate who is engaged in an election campaign, as this is a matter related to the management of a particular company. In any case, the Japan-U.S. alliance has become more solid than ever, so Japan and the United States must continue working together in realizing the sustainable and comprehensive economic growth of the Indo-Pacific region while maintaining and strengthening the rules-based, free and open economic order, and cooperation in the field of economic security.

Last updated:2024-02-02