The Nikkei reports that the Japanese government and private sector plan to invest ¥110 billion (US$1.3 billion) in efforts to reduce domestic industry’s dependence on rare-earth metal supplies from China by a third. Japan currently imports 90% of the rare-earth metals it uses from China.
As the first step in efforts to diversify procurement sources, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has selected 160 projects by 110 companies as recipients of a total of 33.1 billion yen [US$404 million] in subsidies. The ministry plans to boost the subsidies by 9 billion yen [US$110 million] and solicit more companies and projects to apply for them.
The projects encompass several categories, such as cutting use of rare-earth metals, boosting recycling, diversifying procurement sources and testing parts made using non-Chinese rare earths...If rare-earth content is reduced or procured from new sources, it may alter the performance of such parts as motors and catalyzers. To assess any performance change, Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and other manufacturers of finished products plan to set up testing facilities.