The Japanese government is considering filing a complaint with WTO over the alleged halt of rare earth metal exports by China, according to the Japan Times.
China allegedly banned the export of the materials, used in the production of electronics, as retaliation over the capture and continued holding of a fishing captain.
China has denied the ban ever took place.
Now that the fishing captain has been released, one has to wonder what triggered the Japanese decision.
As it was made so close to China’s alleged ban on rare earth metal exports, it could have been a direct response to the stakes being raised too high for Japan.
Just to put in context how important this is to Japan, from The Japan Times (emphasis ours):
Japan imported 31,383 tons of rare earths in 2008, of which 29,275 tons, or 92 per cent, came from China, according to data compiled by Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp., a government-affiliated organisation.