Japan and Germany have agreed to cooperate in the area of critical global supply chains, including on clean energy, hydrogen and battery, for energy transition, and recognized the importance of "taking various and practical pathways" for climate change.
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The agreement was reached March 18 at the first round of Inter-Governmental Consultations, co-chaired by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Tokyo.
The boosted bilateral cooperation comes at a time when Japan and Germany are increasingly competing with each other for LNG supply in the wake of situations surrounding Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
At the March 18 meeting, Japan and Germany "underlined their willingness to share best practices to address risks to critical global supply chains, especially in strategic sectors, such as critical minerals, semi-conductors, clean energy, hydrogen and batteries, taking into account the importance of accelerating the global energy transition to holistically address energy security, climate crisis and geopolitical risks," according to a joint statement.
This comes as the two countries committed to strengthening their cooperation on economic resilience to address and mitigate the risk of excessive dependencies.
The US, EU, Japan, Canada and other governments are working to reduce their reliance on China for critical minerals that are essential to their decarbonization efforts.
EU officials unveiled a sweeping proposal March 16 that outlines a set of plans to strengthen supply chains of select energy transition materials by encouraging domestic production, increasing international cooperation and reducing demand through recycling.
Japan and Germany intend to expand cooperation between the Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security and the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources in the field of security of critical minerals supply and corresponding governmental support for mining, refining, processing, and recycling, according to the joint statement.
Jointly expressing their strong concern with the accelerating and intensifying impacts of climate change in the joint statement, the two countries "committed to take further immediate and concrete actions towards a rapid, resilient and just transition."
"Both sides recognized the importance of taking various and practical pathways according to each country's circumstance," the countries said in the joint statement, while recognizing that recent crises, including supply constraints and food and energy price shocks, have highlighted vulnerabilities.
Japan and Germany also expressed their intention to strengthen economic resilience related to food and energy security based on the established multilateral order and in line with their commitment to keeping a limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature rise within reach.
The countries also recognized the need of diversification of supplies and that of the accelerated clean energy transition through investments in alternative sources and new technologies such as renewable energies, hydrogen and energy efficiency.
The high-level bilateral meeting took place less a month ahead of the G7 Ministers' Meeting on Climate, Energy and Environment in Sapporo over April 15-16, of which critical minerals and energy security are expected to be among focus.
The March 18 meeting was attended by ministers including Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura and Germany's Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck.
Japan takes the presidency of the G7 -- Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US -- in 2023 amid a series of energy security challenges and the need to make progress toward carbon neutrality.