Germany, Japan seek economic cooperation

Olaf Scholz, Germany's chancellor, left, and Fukio Kishida, Japan's prime minister, right, during a news conference at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, on Saturday, March 18, 2023. Japan and Germany vowed to deepen cooperation on defense and climate protection and work more closely together to reduce one-sided dependencies in critical areas such as raw materials. - Bloomberg

TOKYO: Germany and Japan have agreed to cooperate closely on economic security during their first ever high-ministerial government consultations, held amid tensions over global supply chains and economic disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz, accompanied to Japan by six ministers, is looking at ways to reduce German dependence on Chinese raw materials.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine as well as the Covid-19 pandemic have made us painfully aware of the difficulties that can arise when there is too much economic dependency in critical areas,” Scholz said at a news conference following the talks.

“We must react to this. Together with Japan and other partners, we are working on drawing the right conclusions from these experiences,” he added.

In a joint statement, the two countries “affirmed their intention to strengthen cooperation on economic security” and to work towards establishing “a legal framework for bilateral defence and security cooperation activities, such as rendering logistical assistance and support”.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Germany and Japan aimed to boost cooperation “in strategic areas including mineral resources, semiconductors, and batteries, and share our best practices to counter risks in order to build a resilient supply chain that is safe and sustainable”. — Reuters

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