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Japan & US: Business leaders call for diversified supply chains among like-minded nations

"Japan, US business leaders call for diversified supply chains" 7 October 2021

Japanese and US business leaders on Thursday agreed that supply chains for critical products need more diversification among like-minded nations after the coronavirus pandemic laid bare vulnerabilities and business risks.

After a two-day virtual meeting, the business leaders also called for the US to return to the 11-member Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade framework that China and Taiwan are now hoping to join, as Tokyo and Washington seek to realize a "free and open" Indo-Pacific based on shared values.

"The fact that the business circles of Japan and the US are strongly asking for the US return to the TPP is a major step forward," Nobuyuki Hirano, head of the Japan-US Business Council, said at an online press conference.

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In a joint statement, the business councils said "onshoring," or bringing production back home, is "neither realistic nor desirable," adding that the key to building resilient and "trusted" supply chains is their diversification among different nations, especially like-minded ones.

The leaders also urged the governments of Japan and the US to support efforts made by companies to address human rights abuses, including forced labour, in global supply chains, an issue that has gained attention amid concerns over human rights conditions in the Uyghur Muslim minority in China's far-western region of Xinjiang.

The annual business leaders' meeting came as economic activity has been picking up with vaccinations progressing in Japan and the US.

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"We encourage governments to remove obstacles to private-sector collaboration by facilitating a globally consistent regulatory framework for international travel that establishes common standards and science-based reciprocal easing of entry restrictions, such as recognizing accepted vaccination documentation issued in the other country," the statement said.

On decarbonization, [...] [t]he business leaders called for clarifying policies to attain their desired energy mix so companies can boost investments in innovative technologies.

[...]