Japan’s new economic security minister has downplayed concerns about regulations that could hamper international commerce, saying repeatedly the country’s commerce is based on a flourishing free market.

"First of all, the basic principle is that business is free,” said former Finance Ministry official Takayuki Kobayashi, who was appointed to the position in Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Cabinet last month.

"Our country can’t prosper without that. When looking at areas to be protected or strengthened, like supply chains, we must communicate with private sector companies,” he said in an interview Thursday.