As the territorial dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands seems to not be improving anytime soon, Japan is looking to other countries, particularly India, for importation of rare earth minerals. This will be announced during a state visit by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in November, as per The Asahi Shimbun.Japan is expected to import 4,000 tons, which will consist of 15% of its annual need.
China is believed to be the producer of 95% of the global supply of rare earth minerals. Conversely, Japan is the biggest importer, due to its heavy needs of the minerals in producing high-tech products like smartphones and wind turbines.
In the past, China has already used this to their advantage in past disputes with Japan, notably during 2010 when they enacted a de facto embargo upon exports of the minerals to Japan. That is why it is important for Japan to diversify its sources for crucial materials like this, since there seems to be no relief in sight on the Senkaku Islands matter, as well as past issues that China has against Japan, particularly grievances from World War II.
Japanese company Toyota Tsusho Corp and an Indian resource developer are also in talks for establishing a joint venture to import rare earths to Japan.
[ via Mining.com ]