Japan wants to work with the United States and the European Union to promote technology that can recover and recycle metals from used electronic devices, according to government sources.
Discarded electronic devices, known as “urban mines,” contain materials such as copper, aluminum and rare metals, which are recyclable resources.
The government is establishing a system to promote the recycling of urban mines and strengthen the supply chain of minerals within a framework of 14 countries and regions.
The nation’s international plan references the “Minerals Security Partnership,” a framework launched in 2022 under the leadership of the United States. Participants include Japan, the United States, the European Union, Australia and South Korea, sources said.
Japan plans to send experts from Japanese companies to countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to teach them how to dismantle computers and smartphones and recover metals from electronic circuit boards.
Metals and minerals found in ore excavated from mines are used in electric vehicles and for other purposes, with China accounting for a large market share of the resource. It imports the raw materials, smelts them and exports them to other countries.
Although resources are scarce in Japan, there are many companies with excellent recycling technologies. Japan intends to make full use of urban mines and believes cooperation with countries with like-minded values can contribute to economic security, observers said.