For Abe, this was a relief. Japan had struggled to ramp up domestic production. The country's reliance on China for most of its supply of face masks left it unable to keep up with a spike in demand, spurring electronics maker Sharp to begin production.Securing medical supplies to tackle the pandemic has become a primary concern for world leaders. Such shortages have brought back to the fore a long-running debate in Tokyo over pulling manufacturing out of China. With the COVID-19 crisis making the economic security stakes clearer than ever, the government has begun to act.
Japan's cabinet in April earmarked 248.6 billion yen ($2.33 billion) for subsidies to businesses that move production back to Japan, covering up to two-thirds of relocation costs.