Japan will focus on supply chain bottlenecks in security push – Official | Invest News

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s economic security strategy will focus on two pillars of “strategic autonomy and essential character,” a senior ruling party official said on Saturday as the country faces one more China more assertive.

Akira Amari, secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), has pursued a policy in recent years aimed at making the Japanese economy less dependent on other countries, while investing in areas essential to other countries.

“‘Self-reliance’ means understanding our bottlenecks and rectifying them,” Amari said in a video message to the Mount Fuji Dialogue, an expert meeting on the US-Japan alliance.

Amari’s economic security agenda encompasses a wide range of issues, ranging from the protection of sensitive technologies to communications, energy, transportation, maritime logistics, finance and healthcare.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who took office this month, created the post of Minister of Economic Security, which went to a protégé of Amari. Amari said the government would bring forward a bill promoting the economic security agenda next year.

Faced with an uphill battle in his home district ahead of the October 31 general election, Amari is focusing his campaign not only on recovery from the pandemic but also on national security, given growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over from Taiwan.

“We need to check whether our supply chains are able to provide a stable supply of essential goods,” Amari said. “If we have supply chains in countries at risk, we should transfer them to our allies or produce at home even though it is more expensive.”

Amari, who did not name China in his remarks, said his economic strategy included sensitive technologies as well as “low-tech items” such as medical masks and gloves, the production of which cannot be covered. by Japan alone.

Japan experienced a severe shortage of medical equipment when the COVID-19 pandemic erupted.

The LDP’s electoral platform promises to “reconsider” how to respond to increased Chinese military activity around the Taiwan Strait and the western Pacific islets controlled by Japan but also claimed by China.

It would aim to increase the defense budget “with the aim of raising it even above 2%” of GDP, the party said, in marked departure from Japan’s policy of spending less than 1% of GDP on defense for decades.

(Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski; Editing by Himani Sarkar and William Mallard)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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