The Chinese government said Friday it will impose export controls in December on some types of graphite, a material used to produce lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, among other items, to protect its "national security and interests."

China is the world's largest producer and exporter of graphite. Japan largely depends on imports of the material from China, according to a Japanese government source.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a Tokyo press conference Friday that Japan will "appropriately deal with" China's fresh export controls based on international rules after confirming with Beijing its intention and policy to implement the steps.

The announcement, based on a law prohibiting the shipment of advanced technologies and products that could be diverted to military use, followed the United States' move earlier this week to tighten controls on cutting-edge semiconductor exports to China.

The Commerce Ministry said the measure effective from Dec. 1 does not target any specific country or region and exports that comply with relevant regulations will be permitted.

In 2022, China produced an estimated 65 percent of the world's natural graphite, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

On Aug. 1, Beijing introduced export restrictions on items related to two rare earth metals used for chip production, namely gallium and germanium, citing the need to safeguard national security.

China holds a large share of the two metals available on the global market.


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