Germany and Japan agreed on Saturday to strengthen cooperation on economic security in the aftermath of tensions over global supply chains and the economic impact of the war in Ukraine.
In the first high-ministerial government consultations held between the two countries, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reached out to Tokyo to seek to reduce Germany’s dependence on China for imports of raw materials.
“The current challenges of our time make it clear: It is important to expand cooperation with close partners and acquire new partners. We want to reduce dependencies and increase the resilience of our economies.” the German chancellor said in a tweet.
Scholz and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said they believe the agreement will allow both countries to diversify value chains in order to be able to reduce economic risks.
In a joint statement, the two countries said they will work on establishing “a legal framework for bilateral defense and security cooperation activities,” including ways to protect critical infrastructures, trade routes and to secure future supply of sustainable energy.
Germany’s decision to prioritize consultations with Japan came after the Asian country put forward an economic security bill last year aimed at securing the uptake of technology and bolstering critical supply chains.
Japan is Germany’s second-largest trading partner in Asia after China, with a bilateral trade volume of €45.7 billion mainly based on the import and export of machinery, vehicles, electronics and chemical products.
The two leaders also exchanged views on the situation in Ukraine, cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and the G7 meeting in Hiroshima scheduled for May.