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Japan’s new economic security minister sets out agenda amid global supply chain woes


Mr Kobayashi, the minister in charge of science and technology as well as space policies.Kobayashi said the government will aim to submit necessary bills to the Diet in next year’s ordinary session, which is slated to be convened in January. The new law will be designed to identify, protect and foster sensitive technologies, secure the integrity of fundamental infrastructure and strengthen supply chains, the new minister said.

The strategy states that Japan will focus on reducing the risk of supply chain disruptions for some vital products, such as semiconductors, medical items, batteries and rare earths. It also pledges to prop up the competitiveness of the chip industry and sets out a plan to build more domestic data centers so sensitive information can be stored within the country.

Such disruptions have already had an impact on output by Japanese automakers, with factories in Vietnam and Malaysia faced shutdowns over the summer due to the pandemic.As for semiconductors, the supply of which has remained severely constrained over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, building more diverse and resilient supply chains is essential for Japanese manufacturers, said Kobayashi.

Other nations, especially the U.S. and China, are eager to secure chips and are ratcheting up investment. U.S. President Joe Biden has called for $50 billion to be spent subsidizing the U.S. chip industry. Japan aims to persuade foreign semiconductor foundries, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., to create manufacturing bases in Japan by teaming up with domestic chipmakers. In addition, Kobayashi stressed the importance of reviving Japan’s own chip industry, which once dominated the world.

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