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Japan to lift stockpiles of metals for EVs, wary of China's clout

Tokyo looks to secure access to lithium, cobalt and rare earths

Cobalt, which is essential for lithium batteries, is one of the materials that the Japanese government will seek to increase stockpiles of.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan will expand its reserves of metals crucial to the production of electric vehicles and high-tech gadgets, aiming to keep pace with rising demand and ensure access as China gains increasing control over global supplies.

China provides nearly 60% of Japan's imports for these often-rare minerals, and international competition to secure such resources is heating up. Companies tied to Chinese interests account for over 30% of cobalt production in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the world's largest supplier of the metal essential for lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles.

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