Japan is considering whether it should back the US in filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization against China, its largest trading partner. Like the US, Japan is concerned over China providing national its businesses subsidies and preferential taxes.
The US has already referred its complaint to the WTO for consultations. It says that China subsidises some of its industries depriving US firms the opportunity to compete fairly.
Japan, which depends on China as a centre for manufacturing and as a market for its consumer electronics, said it was now trying to find out more about the claims after US trade representative Susan Schwab raised the issue.
Akira Amari, Japan's minister for economy, trade and industry, said, "Based on our findings we hope to decide as soon as possible whether to join (the US complaint) as a third party."
Last week, Schwab charged China of using tax legislation to "encourage exports and discriminate against imports", and called for a "level playing field". The US says its industries including IT, steel and paper are among those affected by China's stance.
Analysts observed that the US's stance against China came shortly after the Democrats, who have historically been more critical of Chinese trade policies, took power in Congress.
The US is due to enter bilateral talks with China and could then go to the WTO settlement panel.