Japan Focuses on Supply Chain Chokepoints in Security Payment – OFFICIAL By Reuters – News Couple
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Japan Focuses on Supply Chain Chokepoints in Security Payment – OFFICIAL By Reuters


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© Reuters. Then-Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari speaks during a press conference in Tokyo, Japan January 28, 2016. REUTERS/Yuya Shino/File Photo

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By Anthony Slodkowski

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Akira Amari on Saturday outlined the government’s new economic security policy that focuses on the two pillars of “strategic autonomy and indispensability”.

“‘Independence’ means understanding and correcting our own choke points… Not taking it away means securing others’ choke points,” Amari said in a conversation via Mount Fuji, a meeting of experts on the US-Japan alliance, via video message.

Amari has focused in recent years on creating policies that would allow Japan to become less dependent on other countries, while expanding into areas indispensable to others.

The new administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida created the position of Minister of Oversight of Economic Security which passed to Ammari’s stepson and Ammari said it will introduce a law promoting the agenda next year.

Amari faces a tough battle in his district with just over a week left until the October 31 House of Representatives elections, as the campaign focuses not only on recovery from the pandemic but also on the security situation given China’s growing assertiveness.

His economic security agenda includes a wide range of issues, from protecting sensitive technologies, to issues such as communications, energy, transportation, maritime logistics, finance, and healthcare.

“We need to check if our supply chains are able to provide a stable supply of vital commodities,” Amari said. “If we have supply chains in risky countries, we have to shift them to our allies or produce at home even if that is more expensive.”

He said that includes “low-tech items” such as medical masks and gloves whose production by Japan alone cannot be covered.

Japan experienced a severe shortage of medical equipment when the COVID-19 epidemic broke out.

In its election platform, the Liberal Democratic Party said it would “reconsider” its response to China’s increased military activity around the Taiwan Strait and its islands in the western Pacific, which are controlled by Japan and also claimed by China.

The party said it would aim to increase the defense budget “with a view to making it above 2%” of GDP, in a marked departure from Japan’s decades-old policy of spending less than 1% of GDP on defence.

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