As the novel coronavirus disease expanded, public demands at home and abroad for hygiene commodities, e.g., face masks, alcohol antiseptics and medical test equipment, grew. As a result, people faced shortages of such commodities in Japan as well, and to address this situation, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) requested companies to increase their production commodities such as face masks and supported them in introducing facilities for production increases into their businesses.
Securing commodities for protecting the lives of people in Japan
As people are facing prolonged situations requiring them to take measures for preventing expansion of the novel coronavirus disease in their daily lives, METI considers it significant to secure supply of medical commodities for protecting the lives of people in Japan. As medical commodities mainly depend on imports from overseas countries, it is indispensable for Japan to build domestic production systems. To this end, METI requested some companies to increase production of parts and materials necessary for medical commodities, such as face masks, antiseptic alcohol and medical test equipment, and for production thereof, and it has been supporting cooperating companies in introducing facilities for producing such commodities into their businesses. Moreover, focusing on advanced medical equipment, such as ventilators and dialysis machines, whose share of overseas-made equipment is high in Japan, METI has been encouraging companies in different industries to enter into the markets of such equipment and advancing efforts for building domestic systems for developing and manufacturing advanced medical equipment.
Enhancing supply chains
Furthermore, global-wide expansion of the novel coronavirus disease has caused difficulties in smooth cross-border movement and trading and this revealed potential risks for disconnection of international supply chains, which have been built through past internationally and economically reasonable approaches. In light of this, METI considers that it is necessary for Japan to make preparations for emergency situations for the purpose of securing stable supply of important commodities, not limited to medical commodities, if the production and development bases of such commodities are concentrated in specific overseas areas.
To achieve this goal, METI has been supporting companies operating production bases in Japan or those tackling diversification of overseas bases in building plants and introducing facilities. As seen above, METI will strive to construct “supply networks” as robust and resilient safety nets in order to build environments in which people are able to safely spend their daily lives.