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China Begins Shipping Rare Earths To Japan
Friday, 19-Nov-2010 12:24PM United Press International
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BEIJING, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Japanese officials said Friday China had resumed shipping rare minerals to Japan after a nearly two-month embargo.

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"Everything is flowing", a Japanese executive involved in the rare earth industry who requested anonymity told The New York Times.

A survey in Japan found 16 of 27 companies indicated purchasing rare earths had improved in the past three days.

The minerals are critical to the several industries, including the electronics industry, which is important to Japan's export-oriented economy.

Shipments were stopped Sept. 21 after Japan detained a Chinese fishing boat captain who allegedly rammed a Japanese coast guard vessel near islands China claims but are controlled by Japan.

During the embargo, Chinese exporters refused to increase shipments to other countries, presumably because they expected the materials would be diverted to Japan.

Ninety-seven percent of the globe's rare earth mining takes place in China, which said it never officially banned shipments to Japan. In late September Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said shipments had stopped because of an emotional reaction among the companies to Japan detaining a Chinese fishing captain.

Chen's remarks were intended to explain why 32 companies had all imposed the embargo on the same day, the Times said.

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