“Japan to pour investment into non-China rare-earth projects Tokyo aims to reduce China dependency to 50% or less” RYOSUKE HANAFUSA, Nikkei staff writer FEBRUARY 15, 2020
TOKYO — The Japanese government will cooperate with the U.S. and Australia on investing in processing facilities for rare-earth metals, looking to ease reliance on imports from China. Rare earths are essential to such high-tech machinery as motors for electric vehicles. But Japan imports 58% of its supply from China, leaving it vulnerable to manipulation by Beijing.
As reported in this article,
“Japan will conduct the financing through a government-owned resource investment company: the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp., or Jogmec. Legislation will be revised to allow it to take stakes in rare-earths smelting projects. Processing facilities, which have a large environmental impact, are now primarily concentrated in China. And Beijing has employed its dominance in rare earths to exert pressure before. In 2010, it quietly cut exports to Japan amid a dust-up over a territorial issue. Jogmec will also take steps to ensure Japan’s stable access to cobalt, a mineral used in lithium-ion batteries, to counter Chinese enterprises securing rights in Congo. The resource company could spend up to around 20 billion yen ($182 million) in all on both efforts.”