Japan aims to break supply chain dependence on China

A government panel said Thursday it will consider ways to promote manufacturers’ domestic production as part of an effort to protect the country’s economy from the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The council on investment for the future, chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, also laid out a plan to take drastic measures to help the country’s tourism industry recover from the virus after the crisis settles down.

The panel plans to boost efforts to draw up concrete measures. The government may compile a supplementary budget for fiscal 2020 to finance such measures, sources familiar with the matter said.

Supply chain disruptions in China, such as those from the coronavirus outbreak, hit hard Japanese manufacturers that are highly dependent on supplies from the country.

The future investment council will consider encouraging Japanese manufacturers to source more from Southeast Asia and bring home production of highly profitable products such as some auto parts.

For the tourism industry, the council affirmed a plan to introduce a national campaign, with support from both public and private sectors, to revive demand for travel.

The council also agreed to establish a subcommittee to consider a medium- and long-term energy strategy that will take into account challenges from climate change as well as improved energy-efficient technology.

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