TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan and the United States will cooperate on the supply of critical parts for chips, aiming for an agreement when the leaders of both countries meet later this month, the Nikkei newspaper said on Friday.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is due to become the first foreign leader to visit the United States since President Joe Biden took office. The meeting, originally scheduled for April 9, has been pushed back until April 16, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary said.
At a regular news briefing, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed the timing of the visit.
Psaki said the visit reflected “the importance we place on the bilateral relationship with Japan, and our friendship and partnership with the Japanese people.”
The White House had no immediate comment on the Nikkei report. The Japanese embassy said no decisions had been made about the expected results of Suga’s meeting with Biden.
The visit comes as the global shortage of semiconductors has squeezed U.S. automakers and other manufacturers, forcing them to cut production. The issue has become important for policymakers, who worry about economic and security risks from the shortage.
Officials from the United States, South Korea and Japan are expected to discuss concerns about the shortage at a meeting on Friday, a senior U.S. administration official said.
“It would be fair to say our three countries hold many of the keys to the future of semiconductors manufacturing technology and we will seek to affirm the importance of keeping these sensitive supply chains secure,” the official told reporters.
White House aides will meet with chipmaker and automakers on April 12 to discuss the resiliency of the U.S. supply chain, amid a broader policy review on the issue, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Suga is now expected to leave Japan on April 15 and depart Washington on April 17, two government sources told Reuters. Details of his visit, his second foreign trip as prime minister, are still being worked out, according to a source familiar with the matter.
COVID-19 restrictions and safety measures complicated planning for the visit, and helped determine the schedule for the visit, according the sources said.
Reporting by Sakura Murakami, Yoshifumi Takemoto and David DolanAdditional reporting by Steve Holland, Andrea Shalal and David Brunnstrom in WashingtonEditing by Gerry Doyle, Matthew Lewis and Marguerita Choy
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