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Press Conference by Minister Saito (Excerpt)

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

8:38-8:46 a.m.
Tuesday, March 5, 2024
In front of the Cabinet Room, 2nd floor, National Diet Building

Opening Remarks

Bookstores Promotion Project Team

To begin, I will explain one item. Today, METI will launch a cross-departmental project team to promote local bookstores. Local bookstores are well-known in communities because people can experience and enjoy diverse contents there. We consider that they are important as culture-creating bases where creativity can be nurtured.
However, the number of such local bookstores has been decreasing rapidly in recent years. At present, nearly a quarter of the local communities in Japan lack a bookstore. I myself am very concerned about this situation.
The project team will research examples of the utilization of the various measures available at present and shed light on inventive efforts being made locally. For further details, please make inquiries with the administrative staff.

Question-and-Answer Session

Stock prices

Q: I would like to ask you about stock prices. Yesterday, on March 4, the Nikkei Stock Average exceeded 40,000 yen for the first time. How do you accept the current status of the Japanese economy and markets?

A: I know that the Nikkei Stock Average hit a record high of over 40,000 yen yesterday. Stock prices are determined daily in the market based on the overall economic conditions, companies' activities, and other diverse factors, and I think that METI should refrain from making any comments on the stock market.
That said, the Japanese economy is seeing domestic investment reaching nearly 100 trillion yen and wages increasing by over 3.5%, both for the first time in thirty years. I think that the Japanese economy is evidently showing a change toward a positive direction. Such change may be backed by positive evaluations by the people concerned including market players, and this is very encouraging.
I would like to solidify these signs of positive change and take advantage of this opportunity to achieve a shift from the cost-cutting economy to a growth-oriented economy in which investments, wages, and prices all increase. This was my thought when I heard the news that the Nikkei Stock Average had exceeded 40,000 yen.

Last updated:2024-03-05