Japan to focus on supply chain chokepoints in security push -official – Reuters

TOKYO, Oct 23 (Reuters) – The Secretary General of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Akira Amari on Saturday outlined the new government’s policy of economic security focusing on the two pillars of “strategic autonomy and indispensability”.

“‘Autonomy’ means understanding our chokepoints and rectifying them … indispensability means securing the chokepoints of others,” Amari told the Mt. Fuji Dialogue, a meeting of experts on U.S.-Japan alliance, via a video message.

Amari has in recent years focused on creating policies allowing Japan to become less reliant on other countries, while expanding in areas that are indispensable to others.

The new administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has created the post of minister overseeing economic security that has gone to Amari’s protégé and Amari said it would table a law promoting the agenda next year.

Amari faces a tough battle in his home district with just over a week left to the Oct. 31 lower house election, with a campaign focusing not only on recovery from the pandemic but also security posture given an increasingly assertive China.

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

“We need to check whether our supply chains are able to provide stable supply of critical goods,” said Amari. “If we have supply chains in risky countries, we should shift them to our allies or produce at home even if it’s more expensive.”

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

Japan experienced an acute shortage of medical equipment when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.

The LDP said in its election platform it would “reconsider” its response to an increase in China’s military activity around the Taiwan strait and islets in the western Pacific controlled by Japan but also claimed by China.

It would aim to raise the defence budget “with an eye to bringing it even above 2%” of GDP, the party said, in a marked departure from Japan’s decades-long policy of spending less than 1% of GDP on defence.

Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski; Editing by Himani Sarkar

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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