Japan’s new battery industry group to seek increased gov’t support

(Reuters) – Japan’s newly created Battery Association for Supply Chain (BASC) said on Wednesday it will seek increased government support as it aims to reinforce the industry’s global competitiveness and speed up decarbonisation.

Formed this month, the BASC’s 55 members include Nissan Motor Co Ltd, Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd, Mitsui & Co., Ltd., Asahi Kasei Corp, Panasonic Corp and Toyotsu Lithium Corp.

“We will come up with policy recommendations that will boost global competitiveness of Japanese battery industry and help the industry’s decarbonisation,” Isao Abe, chairman of the BASC, Executive Officer at Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., told a news conference.

Increased support from government is needed as rivals in China, the United States and Europe receive much bigger subsidies and tax advantages, Abe said.

The group plans to submit policy recommendations to the industry ministry by the end of July.

These will map out measures to secure lithium, cobalt and nickel and other natural resources used in batteries to help the sector lower investment and manufacturing costs.

Global battery demand is expected to grow as electric vehicles replace gasoline-powered cars.

“We will also actively participate in international standard deliberations and new regulatory planning,” Abe said, pointing to discussion over standardisation in lithium including mining, concentration and conversion to lithium-ion battery materials as an example.

The BASC’s members include suppliers of battery materials and parts, battery manufacturers, trading houses and automakers.

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