"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Press Conference by Prime Minster Kishida

[Date] July 14, 2022
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional translation
[Full text]

[Opening statement]


In Sunday's House of Councillors election, the ruling parties succeeded in securing a stable political foundation. With COVID-19, aggression against Ukraine, and soaring prices worldwide, we are confronted simultaneously by situations that usually arise only once every few decades, whether globally or domestically. I solemnly regard the results of this election as a call to action from you, the public. You are calling on us to defend Japan from such crises as these, among the most challenging we have faced in the post-war world, and to carve out Japan's future. I feel this grave responsibility very acutely.

During this election, a shocking incident occurred, with former Prime Minister Abe losing his life to a despicable act of violence while he was campaigning for candidates. I offer my sincere condolences once again to former Prime Minister Abe.

Possessing outstanding leadership and execution ability, Mr. Abe took on the weighty responsibility of being prime minister for the sake of Japan, which faces a severe state of affairs both domestically and internationally. He did so over a total of eight years and eight months, the longest period in our constitutional history. He moreover left a great legacy in numerous areas, including reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, Japan's economic revitalization, and pursuing diplomacy that positions the Japan-U.S. Alliance as the cornerstone. His accomplishments were truly magnificent.

Mr. Abe and his achievements have received extremely high commendations from the international community, including national leaders, and his passing was the result of a sudden, outrageous act carried out in the middle of an election, the very basis of democracy. A broad spectrum of feelings of condolences and mourning have been conveyed to us from both within Japan and overseas.

Taking these points into consideration, we will hold a funeral for former Prime Minister Abe this autumn in the form of a state funeral. By holding a state funeral, we will mourn Mr. Abe's passing while also demonstrating Japan's determination to fully and resolutely defend democracy, without giving in to violence. Together with this, I intend for Japan to show the world our mindset as we inherit a Japan overflowing with vitality and work to carve out our future.

I spoke about the LDP's basic positions regarding political administration and constitutional reform, the abductions issue, and other issues during my press conference as LDP president the other day. Today I will explain future policy development regarding current, urgent issues directly linked to the lives and livelihoods of the Japanese people.


The first area is our response to COVID-19.

My remarks are also based on the opinions of experts that I listened to this week.

COVID-19 infections are spreading nationwide, with the number of cases increasing in all age brackets, and centered on the younger groups. With the prevalent strain currently being replaced by the new BA.5 subvariant, it is necessary to have the greatest possible degree of vigilance against a further spread of infections.

At the same time, the Government and local governments have been expecting that such a situation might occur, and we have been maintaining the medical structures we reinforced previously. Despite increases in the number of cases of infections, for now, the number of patients with severe symptoms and the number of those succumbing to COVID-19 are at a low level. The occupancy rate of hospital beds is also showing an increasing trend but generally maintaining a low level.

The Government will maintain and strengthen our medical structures by securing hospital beds, providing support for treatment and recuperation systems at elderly care facilities, strengthening our screening capacity, and securing pharmaceutical treatments, among other efforts. We will at the same time continue to move forward gradually in our efforts to restore socioeconomic activities while maintaining the highest level of vigilance.

We have overcome six waves of COVID-19 infections thus far. Through those experiences, we have amassed efforts to mitigate infections within our daily lives and economic activities while accumulating scientific knowledge, and our response capabilities have been strengthened overall as a nation, including efforts by both the national and local governments, such as in our medical treatment structures. So first, as a result of the across-the-board development of enhanced response capabilities, at this time we are not thinking of imposing new restrictions on activities.

At the same time, in order to maintain the balance between socioeconomic activities and mitigating infections, it is essential for us to make unambiguous infection countermeasures, tailored to each age group, more thoroughgoing.

It is particularly important that we protect the elderly, who are at risk of developing severe symptoms. Vaccination will be the key to this, and we are now making steady progress in administering the fourth dose.

Insofar as there needs to be a five-month interval between doses before receiving the fourth injection, a large number of people will become eligible in July and August. We will press forward with efforts to have eligible people get their fourth dose as soon as possible by promoting vaccinations at elderly care facilities and through other means.

Also, during that period, in order to protect the elderly and others at high risk of infection and ensure adequate staffing within our medical system, as the result of consultations with relevant panels of experts, we will administer a fourth dose of the vaccine to all healthcare workers and employees of elderly care facilities, totaling approximately 8 million people. We will begin preparations tomorrow in cooperation with local governments and push forward rapidly in administering the inoculations, beginning next week.

To those of you in the younger generations, I ask once more that you receive your third dose of the vaccine. You can receive it at your current place of residence or the place you return to during homecomings, so please actively consider getting it.

The number of cases is now rising sharply, centered on the younger generation of people from their teens to their thirties. Some 80 percent of young people have completed their second dose, but for the third dose, vaccination rates have stalled between 30 and 60 percent. Young people are also vulnerable to developing severe symptoms, and symptoms such as fatigue may also become prolonged. Getting a third dose of the vaccine protects not only the person being vaccinated but also leads to the protection of important people around that person, including family members, friends, and elderly people. I ask for your understanding and cooperation.

As we head into summer vacation soon, there will be more interactions among people from different age groups. Before returning to your hometown, you can get tested at one of the roughly 13,000 centers nationwide conducting COVID-19 screening free of charge. We will also set up temporary free-of-charge testing locations at more than 100 locations, including at major train stations and airports.

I wish to thank the public for the cooperation you have shown towards our basic infection countermeasures, including sanitizing your hands and wearing a mask when conversing indoors. As another request, I ask in particular this summer that you adequately ventilate rooms and dining and drinking establishments, as these tend to get stuffy with the air conditioning running.

Tomorrow, the Government's Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters will take a decision on these kinds of measures to counter the spread of infections around us. Through cooperation from the public, we will respond thoroughly, taking great pains to prevent the spread of infections in a way that is compatible with continuing our socioeconomic activities.

Measures to deal with energy and rising prices

The second area I will discuss is that of measures in the area of energy and measures to address rising prices, both of which impact people's daily lives significantly.

First among our measures is ensuring a stable supply. As for our electricity supply this summer, in response to requests from the Government, the operations of no fewer than 10 thermal power plants nationwide will resume, in succession, through the cooperation of everyone involved. Through these arrangements, we have successfully laid out the path forward towards ensuring a stable supply.

This summer, heat stroke is also a concern. I would like everyone to overcome the heat together by using air conditioning skillfully without slashing their electricity use too drastically.

However, there are concerns that next winter another strained situation will arise in supply and demand. It is critical that we prevent such circumstances from emerging, no matter what. I have instructed the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry to move forward in getting the greatest possible number of nuclear plants into operation, which would be nine units this winter, thereby securing a supply corresponding to approximately 10 percent of Japan's overall electric power consumption, and at the same time secure additional supply capacity from thermal power, aiming at 10 units, with a view to attaining a supply level that, at peak times, enables a stable supply plus an extra margin as a safeguard.

If we succeed in taking these steps, we will have secured a supply capacity greater than the capacity we had at any time these past three years. Taking responsibility as the Government, we will engage in all possible measures and do our utmost to ensure that we are able to secure a stable supply of electricity, not only this winter, but also into the future.

Next, I will address soaring prices.

The price spikes we now face are a global problem triggered by Russia's aggression against Ukraine, and all nations are now confronting substatial price increases.

It is in that context that at the recent G7 summit, the G7, sharing the determination to overcome these hardships, united to create a system under which we will not buy, or allow others to buy, Russian crude oil whose price exceeds a certain price ceiling. We also agreed on various assistance measures to facilitate the resumption of the export of grain and so on from Ukraine, which is called the "world's food basket."

Such actions by the international community are impacting the international commodities markets in positive ways, including right now for example a drop of roughly 40 percent in the wheat futures price compared to its peak since the aggression against Ukraine first occurred.

As for domestic affairs, we take very seriously the fact that rising prices are significantly impacting people's daily lives, and we are undertaking assistance well-tailored to the circumstances of each local area, and taking measures focused on energy and food, which account for the largest portion of price increases.

We will continue to fully defend the public's daily lives by seamlessly implementing comprehensive measures from the global level down to the community level. Tomorrow, we will convene the second meeting of the Task Force on Prices, Wages, and Daily Living to discuss the current state of the economy and prices as well as response measures.

First of all, it is imperative that we engage in assistance that is well-tailored to actual set of circumstances in each local area.

Making use of 1 trillion yen of Extraordinary Regional Revitalization Grants, we will undertake various countermeasures that include, in the case of individuals, assistance covering school lunch fees and distribution support for young carers, both of which will be in addition to the benefits provided to low-income earners, and, in the case of business operators, assistance for local industry in response to sharply rising electricity fees and other expenses and managerial support for marine product, greenhouse horticulture, and stock raising businesses. The Government will continue to follow upon the various efforts of this type and spread effective responses laterally all around the nation. Beyond that, in keeping with the state of implementation by local governments, if necessary we will reinforce our measures still more by further infusing additional funding into our Extraordinary Regional Revitalization Grant program.

In addition, with regard to energy and food, at its last meeting the Task Force indicated measures to be put into concrete form, and we will swiftly transition those into implementation. First, we will set up a new framework that addresses both alleviating the strain on electrical power supply and demand and relieving some of the substantial burden of higher electicity fees. We will also take measures to constrain rising food prices. We will create a new assistance system providing compensation for 70 percent of the cost increases in fertilizer. This assistance will be paid retroactively to June so that we are able to respond to the impact on fertilizers to be used in the autumn. We will establish reserve funds within July for these and expeditiously deliver this assistance.

The annual wage bargaining negotiations this spring resulted in the second-highest rate of wage increases in the last 20 years. In addition, discussions have begun on this year's increase in the minimum wage. In a time of ongoing price increases, it is critical for us to keep providing higher wages. We will press forward with comprehensive efforts so that the trend of wage hikes becomes more reliable and also something continual.

Within the Task Force on Prices, Wages, and Daily Living, which I chair, we will continue to work to grasp the situation of both prices and economic conditions and, making agile use of 5.5 trillion yen in reserve funds, engage seamlessly in rapid and comprehensive responses suited to the circumstances.

Thus far I have spoken about urgent issues facing us.

There is a mountain of other issues that needs to be tackled without delay, including of course diplomatic and security issues within the context of a rapidly changing international situation; full-scale efforts to realize a new form of capitalism, aiming at revitalizing the Japanese economy; and the creation of a social security system oriented to all generations.

As for diplomacy and security, from August, the diplomatic calendar is packed full, with the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) starting from August 1, and then the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), to be held in Tunisia, among other diplomatic occasions. I will proactively take advantage of these opportunities to press forward with "realism diplomacy for a new era," advancing summit-level diplomacy while standing at the very fore.

We will also accelerate our discussions towards drawing up a new National Security Strategy and related documents, and undertake in a concrete manner a fundamental reinforcement of our defense capabilities within five years. Tomorrow, we will establish the secretariat of the G7 Hiroshima Summit, to be hosted by Japan next year. We will move forward in our preparations steadily in order to fulfill our weighty responsibilities as the country holding the G7 presidency.

Regarding a New Form of Capitalism, we will accelerate our examination of concrete measures, for example drawing up a five-year plan that sets its sights on increasing the number of startups by tenfold within five years and formulating a roadmap for the next decade designed to draw upon sustained public and private investments to advance green transformation.


Japan faces a large number of issues that have been mounting in both its domestic affairs and its diplomacy. The power that we received from the public in this election is the power to realize political stability, decide on and execute policies in a bold manner, and tackle these issues we face. We will leverage that power to the greatest possible extent and confront individual issues head on.

I will fulfill my duties taking to heart that the most important thing for overcoming these hardships is the trust and sympathy of you in the public. I ask you all once more for your ongoing cooperation.