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Japan minister calls for new world order to counter rise of authoritarian regimes

2023-01-05T17:58:27Z

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Japan’s trade and industry minister said on Thursday post-Cold War free trade and economic inter-dependence had bolstered authoritarian regimes and urged the United States and other like-minded democracies to counter them with a “new world order.”

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FILE PHOTO: Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura arrives at Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s official residence in Tokyo, Japan August 10, 2022. REUTERS/Issei Kato

“Authoritarian countries have amassed tremendous power, both economically and militarily,” Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C.

“We must rebuild a world order based on the fundamental values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” he added.

Nishimura spoke ahead of a visit to Washington next week by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for talks expected to cover issues including Ukraine, North Korea and China’s tensions with Taiwan. That summit will be preceded by talks between defense and foreign ministers of the two countries.

Kishida said this week he will discuss Tokyo’s new security policy in Washington after Japan last month unveiled its biggest military build-up since World War Two.

Nishimura’s call to arms comes amid growing concern in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that Beijing and Moscow will use their control over energy resources and sway over manufacturing supply chains to stop the United States, Japan, Europe and other from opposing their diplomatic and military goals.

Leaders from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are likely to discuss how to respond to economic coercion when they meet in May in the Japanese city of Hiroshima, Nishimura said.

“We might need to make preparations to identify the choke points of countries wanting to engage in coercion and then take countermeasures if necessary,” he said.

The Japanese minister warned that democracies need to protect their industrial power and guard against the loss of technologies, particularly those that could be diverted to military use.

He urged that cooperation between Japan and the United States extend beyond semiconductors to biotechnology, artificial intelligence and quantum science.

He also promised to work more closely with Washington on export controls, although he didn’t say whether Tokyo would match the sweeping restriction on exports of chip manufacturing equipment imposed by Biden’s administration in October.

On trade, Nishimura encouraged the United States to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership after former President Donald Trump abandoned an earlier version of the pact in 2017.

He also said Japan will work toward an “early conclusion” of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity launched by Biden in Tokyo in May as part of a push to bolster economic cooperation with 12 other countries in the region.