The COVID-19 pandemic has made many aware of the vulnerability of supply chains, giving an upper hand to China, which manufactures crucial medical and other products for Japan and much of the world.
With Beijing taking advantage of the vulnerability, or the dependence on China in trade, resorting to economic coercion, Japan needs to strengthen its economic security as part of its strategy to ensure national security.
The spread of the novel coronavirus has affected Japan’s auto production sector, dependent on parts imported from China, and led to a serious shortage of face masks, also supplied largely by that country.
The United States, hit by a surge in infections, also suffered from shortages of face masks, medical gloves and gowns, leading to growing calls for the need to increase domestic production of medical supplies rather than relying on imports.
After Australia pushed for an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus, China suspended beef imports from major Australian suppliers and imposed an 80.5% tariff on barley imports from Australia, as well as restricting imports of other products such as wine and coal.