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What Japan needs to do to boost its economic security

19 9 1

A significant feature of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration is the creation of a new ministerial post for economic security and the appointment of Takayuki Kobayashi, a young Lower House lawmaker, to the post.

Boosting economic security has been one of the top items advocated by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, with its Strategic Headquarters on the Creation of a New International Order — chaired by Akira Amari, one of the most powerful politicians at that time — hammering out proposals on the issue in December 2020 and in May of this year.

Amari, who had been actively pushing the need to improve the country’s economic security, resigned as the LDP’s secretary-general — only a month after being appointed — following a loss in his single-seat constituency in the Oct. 31 general election. But it is highly likely the Kishida administration’s economic security policies will be based on the proposals made by the strategic headquarters.

There are a number of issues that need to be addressed in discussing economic security.

Defending national interests

The LDP’s proposals define economic security as “ensuring the nation’s independence, survival and prosperity in economic terms,” and put forward two concepts to achieve it.

One is “securing strategic autonomy” by strengthening foundations indispensable to maintain Japan’s social and economic activities and making sure the nation is not excessively dependent on other countries. The second concept is “maintaining, boosting and obtaining strategic indispensability” by expanding areas in which Japan is considered essential to the global community.

In order to realize these objectives, the proposals call for the need to grasp and analyze the vulnerabilities of strategic infrastructure industries and take necessary measures.

Five sectors — energy, telecommunications, transportation, medicine and finance — are listed as strategic infrastructure industries in the proposals, and analysis is given on risks and ways to cope with vulnerabilities in each sector.

The discussions in the LDP’s reports are extremely detailed and useful.

However, they are focused on how Japan should prepare for situations that threaten its independence, survival and prosperity. They do not discuss measures to prevent such situations from happening in the first place, except mentioning the need for strategic indispensability.


© The Japan Times

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