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Economic 2+2 with U.S. could put Japan in awkward position vis-à-vis China

Asahi reported online on the recent U.S.-Japan agreement to establish a framework for economic dialogue between the foreign and trade ministers, saying it will complement the two other venues that the two governments launched earlier—the bilateral Competitiveness and Resilience Partnership and the Commercial and Industrial Partnership. The paper conjectured that the scope of the three initiatives might overlap, although the Japanese side is hoping that bilateral discussions on the economic front will broaden due to the participation of the foreign ministers in the 2+2 platform. While saying that the Biden administration is keen to strengthen multilateral coordination with allies and partners to protect supply chains for key strategic materials and critical advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum cryptography from China and other autocratic regimes, the daily said if Tokyo elects to follow the United States’ lead blindly, China may counter by imposing greater regulations on Japanese businesses. “The Japanese business community would like to maintain economic relations with China,” said Keidanren Chairman Tokura earlier this week while referring to the U.S.-Japan economic 2+2 framework. “The world cannot function without China, and China cannot function without the world.” The daily asserted that the Kishida administration stopped short of joining the separate U.S.-orchestrated Export Controls and Human Rights Initiative perhaps out of deference to Beijing.

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