Japan, Canada Pledge More Co-Operation on Battery Supply Chains, AI Technology

Japan, Canada Pledge More Co-Operation on Battery Supply Chains, AI Technology
Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Nishimura Yasutoshi (L) shakes hands with Canada's Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development Mary Ng, during a signing ceremony in Ottawa, on Sept. 21, 2023. (The Canadian Press/Justin Tang)
The Canadian Press

A new battery supply-chain agreement between Ottawa and Tokyo comes as Canada wants to expand its position in the battery industry and Japan seeks to secure access to lucrative American EV subsidies for its automakers.

Japan’s industry minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said today that the move also comes as the two countries seek out like-minded allies in a world with increasing geopolitical tension.

He only specifically mentioned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but both Canada and Japan seek to counter China’s economic and political dominance in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as in the global battery industry.

For Canada, the deal is well-timed, allowing it to show growing ties with a key Indo-Pacific ally even as its relationship with India barrels towards rock bottom.

Japan brings technology in mineral processing as well as battery and auto companies to the table, while Canada brings access to critical minerals and emerging battery manufacturing capacity.

Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says there is interest from Japanese automakers to make EV batteries in Canada, though he says this agreement just sets the stage for those talks to really begin to take shape.