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Wednesday, 21st March 2012
In Business In Japan,

Japan to hold commodities talks with EU and US

The Japanese government has announced it will hold talks with the EU and US in a bid to find alternatives to the rare earths minerals monopolised by China.

Discussions are due to take place next Wednesday (March 28th), with Japanese authorities determined to reduce their dependence on the rare earths commodities, AFP reported.

Rare earths are a group of 17 elements that are prized because of their use in high-tech manufacturing.

Three weeks ago, Japan, the EU and US all issued a complaint to the World Trade Organisation regarding China's monopolisation of the commodities.

It is claimed that the world's fastest-growing economy controls 97 per cent of the world's rare earths and is restricting their supply.

A statement from the Japanese industry ministry said: "It is therefore necessary to overcome this vulnerability by developing technologies for alternative or substitute critical materials, and to reduce use of critical materials as soon as possible," the news agency quoted.

The talks will also look at new recycling techniques in a bid to cut reliance on rare earths.

Japan's foreign ministry recently announced plans to expand the number of foreign embassies it operates around the world.

Written by Kimberley Homer

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