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Executives' Comments  Press Conferences Chairman Tokura's Statements and Comments
at His Press Conference

February 21, 2022

COVID-19 Countermeasures

I welcome the easing of border controls as the first step toward re-opening international travel. However, I have the impression that the upper limit of 5,000 entrants to Japan per day has been determined by immigration technicalities rather than epidemiological grounds. If this is the case, I would like the government to raise the upper limit on entrants by using digital technologies to simplify immigration procedures. Now that the Omicron variant accounts for the bulk of infections worldwide, reasons to continue strict national isolation measures are dwindling. I hope that the government will actively open our borders, since Japan's national interests must not be harmed.

Many countries around the world are now regarding COVID-19 as endemic rather than pandemic and altering social rules and modes of behavior based on this recognition. Given such circumstances, Japan has also come to the stage of discussing an exit strategy that enables social and economic activity while controlling infections at a certain level. At the same time, we need to prepare for a seventh wave of infection by securing vaccines, oral therapeutic drugs, and test kits.

Economic Security Bill

Economic and national security cannot be considered separately in the current geopolitical environment. Thus, it is essential to assure economic security, and I support the government's plan to submit a bill to this end during the current regular Diet session. I hope that in drafting the Economic Security Bill, the government will consider predictability, freedom of economic activity, and compatibility with international rules.

[In response to a question about hasty Diet deliberation] I understand that the advisory committee has thoroughly discussed the bill. I believe that swift deliberation in the Diet will be welcomed.

Deliberation of FY2022 Draft Budget

It is crucial to promptly take necessary economic measures and offer various forms of assistance during the prolonged disruption due to COVID-19. I welcome quick progress in discussions to ensure the budget is passed within this fiscal year.

Ukraine Situation

We are monitoring the situation with intense interest. I hope that diplomatic efforts will continue, and the situation will be peacefully resolved through dialogue.

If tension continues, there are concerns over domestic and international economic impacts due to sharp rises in energy prices. In the short term, demand is keeping energy prices high, and further price hikes combined with geopolitical risk will affect economies. Ongoing tension is also likely to have significant impact on projects that Japanese companies are undertaking in Russia and Ukraine. As UK Prime Minister Johnson noted in Munich recently, East Asia will also be impacted in the medium to long term. Although the US is trying to focus on building a free and open Indo-Pacific, it will be forced to address two fronts as it responds to the Ukraine issue.

Olympics and Paralympics

I am delighted that the Beijing Olympics have concluded successfully. Following on from the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the Beijing Games brought plenty of excitement and drama as they showed us athletes triumphing over difficulties and striving for excellence. I expect that this inspiration will carry through to the Paralympics. Although various challenges have been noted surrounding the Olympics and Paralympics, including the cost of hosting the Games, political agendas, and doping scandals, we need to focus wisdom on problem-solving.

[In response to a question on Sapporo's bid for the winter Olympics and Paralympics] As well as bringing much excitement, the Olympics and Paralympics present a rare opportunity to unite the world, and I have high hopes for the bid.

Executives' Comments