Fact Sheet: U.S.-Japan Cooperative Initiatives

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President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of Japan wait in the Green Room of the White House before the start of their press conference in the East Room on April 30. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

WASHINGTON — President Obama met with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda at the White House on April 30.

In addition to releasing the “U.S.-Japan Joint Statement: A Shared Vision for the Future,” the two leaders announced the following cooperative initiatives, which are aimed at strengthening and expanding the U.S.-Japan relationship in the areas of security cooperation, economic partnership, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

Joint Statement by the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee(2+2):  The leaders welcomed the 2+2 Joint Statement of April 27, and affirmed that the new plan will enhance the implementation of U.S. force posture and realignment goals, leading to strengthened and expanded security and defense cooperation.

The statement represents a key component of the broader U.S. strategic rebalancing toward the Asia-Pacific by supporting a U.S. military presence in the region that is geographically distributed, operationally resilient and politically sustainable.

It marks a major step forward in our bilateral security relationship and opens the way for new alliance initiatives to enhance our operational cooperation, including dynamic defense cooperation involving timely and effective joint training, joint surveillance and reconnaissance activities, and joint/ shared use of facilities.

It also opens a pathway to new initiatives for regional collaboration to help partners to build their capacity through both governments’ efforts. Additional information and the text of the statement are available here:  http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=15220

Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Cooperation: Building on the close U.S.-Japan cooperation following Japan’s March 2011 nuclear accident, the two nations will establish a high-level Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Cooperation to further strengthen our work in this field.

The commission will foster comprehensive strategic dialogue and joint activities related to the safe and secure implementation of civil nuclear energy and the response to the accident such as decommissioning and decontamination. The commission is to coordinate more robust research and development exchanges in areas that may include nuclear energy, safety, and security, environmental management, and nonproliferation.

It builds upon a March 2012 agreement on cooperation in the field of nuclear energy R&D, and also supports the commitments made by both countries at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit. It is anticipated that the commission will hold its first meeting at the earliest mutually convenient date. Japan and the U.S. will work for the success of the Fukushima Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety held by Japan in co-sponsorship with the IAEA in December this year.

New Clean Energy Initiatives: The leaders launched the following new initiatives in the area of clean energy, to be administered under the U.S.-Japan Clean Energy Policy Dialogue:

* Tohoku Green Communities Alliance: To support the reconstruction and recovery of areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, the U.S. and Japan are launching the Tohoku Green Communities Alliance. The two nations are to cooperate to develop and deploy clean energy technologies, to promote the building of green communities in the Tohoku region and, through that experience, in our two countries more broadly.

The U.S. and Japan will work to increase people-to-people exchanges involving individuals in the Tohoku region to promote local clean energy solutions, in conjunction with the new TOMODACHI exchanges described below. The two nations will also work to promote joint U.S.-Japan research and development involving institutions in the Tohoku region, and collaborate in government and industry partnerships to develop and deploy community-scale microgrid systems.

* New Cooperation in Clean Energy Innovation: The U.S. and Japan will expand their cooperation on clean energy innovation, including through collaborations for information sharing and joint research and development between U.S. national laboratories and universities, and Japanese research institutes and universities in biomass, enhanced geothermal systems, and other areas.

In addition, the U.S. and Japan are to expand joint projects in renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart grid technology, and people-to-people exchanges, under the existing cooperation involving the State of Hawaii and Okinawa Prefecture.

* Critical Materials Research and Development: Building on their existing dialogue on critical materials policy, the U.S. and Japan are to begin new collaboration on recycling rare earth elements, as well as other areas of research and development. U.S. and Japanese researchers from U.S. national laboratories, Japanese research institutes, and universities in both countries are to conduct these collaborations.

The U.S. and Japan will also work to increase information sharing between the research communities of both countries on the production and use of rare earth elements and other critical materials, in order to promote improved understanding of market conditions and technology needs. These efforts will promote shared objectives of promoting diversity of supply, development of substitute materials, and improved recycling processes.

* The 4th Clean Energy Policy Dialogue in Fukushima: Japan and the United States plan to hold the 4th Clean Energy Policy Dialogue in Fukushima Prefecture later this year to formulate action plans to promote the cooperation above.

Joint Statement on Global Supply Chain Security: The two countries issued the U.S.-Japan Joint Statement on Global Supply Chain Security. Recognizing the importance of the two economies to supply chains that power the global economy, the U.S. and Japan have outlined ways to cooperate more closely to strengthen the security and resiliency of the global supply chain and promote the timely, efficient flow of legitimate commerce.

The U.S. and Japan intend to enhance trade facilitation benefits provided to the members of the U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism and Japan’s Authorized Economic Operators program; accelerate discussions on an air cargo security mutual recognition arrangement; and, as resources permit, coordinate capacity-building in Asia-Pacific to strengthen regional border, port, maritime, and aviation security.

Together, the two countries seek to ensure that regional and global supply chains are prepared for, and can withstand, evolving threats and hazards, and can recover rapidly from possible disruptions such as terrorism and natural disasters.

Cooperation on Travel Facilitation: The U.S. and Japan have decided to work together to establish a reciprocal arrangement, including through Japan’s participation in the U.S. “Global Entry” program, to expedite immigration clearance for trusted travelers from both our countries, and make travel between the U.S. and Japan easier, faster and more secure.

Cyber Cooperation: Noting over a decade of extensive partnership on information and communications technology (ICT) policy, Internet issues, and cybersecurity, and welcoming Japan’s intention to join as soon as possible the Convention on Cybercrime (the U.S. is already a party), both countries agreed on the need to deepen bilateral coordination on cyber issues, and announced their intention to develop a framework for deepening whole-of-government engagement.

This framework is to be designed to leverage existing dialogues to ensure the involvement of all the relevant ministries and agencies on priority issues such as: international norms development, strategies at international fora, common threats and priorities, expansion of public-private partnerships, science and technology collaboration, critical infrastructure and control systems security, incident management and operational cooperation, and cybersecurity awareness.

Space Cooperation: The U.S. and Japan consider the sustainability, stability, and free access to and use of space vital to their national interests. Based on this recognition and 42 years of joint space activities and the bilateral partnership, the U.S. and Japan will seek greater cooperation in the following areas:

* Civil Space Cooperation: The U.S. and Japan have committed to deepen civil space cooperation through early conclusion of the negotiation of a framework agreement on the peaceful exploration and use of outer space and by pursuing the following specific activities:

* Cooperation, including with regard to interoperability and improved regional navigation, between GPS and the Japanese Quazi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) for multiple purposes;

* Collaboration on satellite-based earth observation missions such as greenhouse gases observation satellites, including coordination on promoting the utilization of satellite-based remote sensing data for environmental, scientific, and disaster monitoring purposes; and

* Continuation of the International Space Station operations beyond 2016.

* Space Security Cooperation: Japan and the U.S. are to deepen their security partnership in space through various cooperative measures, including the pursuit of voluntary and pragmatic transparency and confidence building measures in space, including an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities, and development of a framework for sharing space situational awareness services and information.

* Comprehensive Dialogue on Space: The U.S. and Japan are to enhance their space dialogue with the engagement of all the relevant ministries and agencies to ensure a whole-of-government approach to space matters and space cooperation addressing environmental research, scientific discovery, national and international security, and economic growth.

Cooperation on Innovation, Entrepreneurship and the Internet Economy: Recognizing the power of entrepreneurship to bring new technologies to market, the president and prime minister endorsed the work plan of the newly-established U.S.-Japan Innovation and Entrepreneurship Council, composed of leading experts from both government and the private sector. The council is to identify best practices, policy recommendations and cooperative bilateral initiatives to encourage the creation of new businesses that generate growth and jobs in both economies.

The leaders also endorsed the launching of a new Cloud Computing Working Group, in cooperation with the private sector, under the Internet Economy Dialogue, aimed at expanding online business opportunities and shaping global regulatory practices on emerging Internet technologies and cross-border data flows.

The Internet Economy Dialogue focuses on the openness of the Internet and freedom to communicate, commercial network security, expanding e-government, protection of children’s safety online, and the reduction of unwanted and unsolicited “spam” email messages.

Friendship Blossoms: Applauding the resounding success of events to celebrate the centennial of the historic gift of 3,000 cherry trees by Japan to Washington, D.C., in 1912, the president announced a reciprocal gift of 3,000 dogwood trees to Japan this year.  These dogwood trees are to be planted in Tokyo and throughout Japan, including in areas recovering from the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, as an enduring symbol of friendship.

The leaders welcomed achievements by TOMODACHI, a public-private partnership led by the U.S. government and the U.S.-Japan Council that is supporting disaster recovery and investing in the next generation while fostering greater engagement between the people of Japan and the U.S., especially youth.

President Obama welcomed the Kizuna Project, a new initiative by the government of Japan that will contribute to reconstruction of disaster-affected areas by funding exchanges for over 2,000 high school students and other young people from the two countries.

These programs promoting people-to-people connections build on a long and rich tradition of exchange, including the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, the Japan-U.S. Training Exchange Program for English Language Teachers (JUSTE), the Japanese Language Education Assistants Program (J-LEAP), the Fulbright Program, the Mansfield Fellowship Program, other inter-university joint programs and the U.S.-Japan Conference on Cultural and Educational Interchange (CULCON).

The goal of these and other efforts is to cultivate a “TOMODACHI Generation” of young people in Japan and the U.S. who will serve as the foundation for an even stronger bilateral partnership in the future.

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