Germany, Japan vow to deepen ties on defence, raw materials

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TOKYO – Japan and Germany on Saturday vowed to deepen cooperation on defence and climate protection and work more closely together to reduce one-sided dependencies in critical areas such as raw materials.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hosted Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Tokyo for the first German-Japanese government consultations that include a joint Cabinet meeting and bilateral talks between key ministers for defence, economy, finance, transportation and foreign affairs.

Mr Kishida said at the beginning of the meeting that ties between the two Group of Seven allies have never been closer and the new format would strengthen relations even further on areas such as economic security and resilience of supply chains.

Mr Scholz added the two leaders and the ministers would discuss closer cooperation and coordination on issues ranging from green hydrogen to climate protection technology and defence.

Both governments will issue a joint declaration later on Saturday in which they are also expected to condemn Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Major developed nations such as Germany and Japan are competing fiercely for increasingly scarce resources, with access to metals and rare earths seen as crucial for the transition to cleaner and more technologically advanced economies.

In the global race for many of the commodities, China has become the dominant supplier or processor, leading to warnings about the government in Beijing wielding excessive influence.

Looking beyond China

Japan has been increasingly focused on economic security, appointing a minister in charge of pursuing it and passing a Bill on building resilient supply chains for key critical goods such as rare earths.

In a new National Security Strategy published in December, Mr Kishida’s government vowed to “curb excessive dependence on specific countries”.

Germany is in the final stages of drafting its own national security strategy in which economic resilience and reducing one-sided dependencies in areas such as energy and raw materials will also play a key role. China is expected to be described as an international partner, economic competitor and systemic rival.

Mr Scholz’s focus on Japan is not a coincidence as he has repeatedly stated that democratic nations must work more closely together to counter the influence of economic rivals with different political ...

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