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EU and Japan discuss collaborating on raw commodities

The two EU leaders, Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen, as well as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, spoke about worries over North Korea’s rockets.

Leaders said in Brussels on Thursday that the EU and Japan are working on a cooperation deal for raw materials to lessen China’s dominance in the industry.

Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, Charles Michel, president of the European Council, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida all stated that coordination also extended to semiconductors in order to strengthen economic security in Japan and the EU.

After a quick, two-hour summit that followed this week’s NATO summit in Lithuania, which all three leaders had attended, the three leaders appeared at a joint press conference.

They discussed a variety of topics during their discussion, some of which—most notably, security concerns—were viewed through the lens of Japan’s current presidency of the G7 club of developed, Western-oriented nations.

Michel stated that Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program and Wednesday’s launch of a solid-fuel intercontinental missile “threaten regional and international security”

In the greatest terms possible, we condemn this, he declared.

The topic of economic security was mentioned by Von der Leyen as one of the “unprecedented challenges to peace and security” in the Asia-Pacific that the EU and Japan were beginning a “strategic dialogue” to address.

She claimed that the conflict in Ukraine, which was also denounced by the leaders, demonstrated how diverse supply networks could be hampered.

The EU and Japan “share similar dependencies” when it comes to the raw minerals that power their economies, she said.

One of our goals, according to von der Leyen, is to lessen our reliance on a small number of suppliers, many of whom are located in China, for goods that are essential to our economy.

“We’ve seen the abuse of dominant positions and this causes difficulties,” Michel remarked.

Although he did not specifically mention China, Kishida concurred that collaboration was necessary.

Like-minded nations and allies will provide supply-chain and key infrastructure resilience, he said, therefore we welcome this direction (with the EU).

In order to de-risk and ensure economic stability, it is crucial that Japan, the EU, and other like-minded nations collaborate and speak with a single voice, according to Kishida.

AI and semiconductors

He continued, “We are working together on the advanced skills for the semiconductor industry” in the supply chains for computer chips.

Von der Leyen stated that they wanted to make sure that the AI products they developed did not end up in the hands of other nations that might use them for military purposes. The group also explored cooperation on artificial intelligence.

The European Union’s rapid removal of import restrictions on Japanese foods from the Fukushima region, which was impacted by the region’s March 2011 nuclear tragedy, was Japan’s biggest home victory at the Brussels summit.

The commission declared that there was no public health concern to European customers who ate plants, seafood, and mushrooms from Fukushima, which had previously been prohibited, based on data provided by Japan.

Brussels, however, advised Japan to keep checking for radiation in nearby fish and seaweed.

Asserting that “this was based on science,” Kishida added, “We’re happy that the EU made the decision to lift import restrictions on Japanese food.”

According to Michel, the EU was working “in parallel” to increase European meat, fruit, and vegetable access to the Japanese market.

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