U.S. - Japan Bilateral Cooperation

Tokyo, Japan - The United States and Japan have a modern and diverse alliance focused on the future.  In April 2014, President Obama and Prime Minister Abe met in Tokyo to chart a future course that will foster prosperity, security, and welfare for citizens of both nations.  Their meeting underscores the depth and scope of our bilateral cooperation, which includes the following:

Advancing Mutual Prosperity

The United States and Japan share a robust and productive economic relationship.  Our close economic ties are reflected in the strong partnerships between U.S. and Japanese companies, and in ongoing economic dialogues spanning a variety of areas including environment and climate change, development, civil nuclear cooperation, clean energy, innovation policy, cybersecurity, and the Internet economy.

Japan and the United States are the world’s largest free-market economies with a two-way goods and services trade flow of $290 billion in 2012, making Japan the United States’ fourth-largest trading partner.  Moreover, Japan is the second-largest source of foreign direct investment into the United States, the stock of two-way investment between our countries topped $442 billion in 2012, and Japanese companies employed approximately 650,000 U.S. workers.  These close trade and investment ties contribute to increased prosperity in both our countries.  Our countries are closely aligned in promoting 21st century economic rules in the region and globally, including through the G-7 and G-20, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and the World Trade Organization.  We are firmly committed to reaching a high-standards agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), recognizing that this will support jobs and growth in both countries. 

Our countries share a common focus on empowering women to take a greater role in our societies.  Recognizing that expanding economic opportunities for women and ensuring their full participation in the workforce are challenges shared by both countries, the United States is pleased to announce its intent to invite five Japanese participants to attend the White House Summit on Working Families, which President Obama plans to host on June 23, 2014.  The Summit aims to bring together businesses, economists, labor leaders, policymakers, advocates, and ordinary citizens to discuss how we can create a 21st century workplace that supports working families and improves women’s labor force participation.   

The United States welcomed Japan’s joining the Equal Futures Partnership in September 2013, a public commitment made by countries around the world to break down barriers to women’s political and economic participation.  The United States is working with Japan in the G-20 to expand female labor force participation as a way of accelerating global growth.  We applaud Japan’s leadership in strengthening women’s empowerment efforts in APEC and will work closely with Japan to advance that agenda. 

Enhancing our Security

The U.S.-Japan Alliance remains the cornerstone of both countries’ security policy in the Asia-Pacific region, ensuring mutual security as well as the peace, stability, and economic prosperity of the region in the 21st century.  We are committed to building an even more robust and effective Alliance based on expanding security and defense cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond to reflect contemporary challenges and on implementing the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, including the construction of a new Marine Corps Air Facility at Camp Schwab to replace MCAS Futenma and the relocation of U.S. Marines to Guam.  The two countries are developing an environmental framework related to U.S. bases in Japan, including an agreement supplementing the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). 

The United States and Japan have made steady progress in revising the Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation to ensure the Alliance continues its vital role in deterring conflict and advancing peace and security.  To support the roles, missions, and capabilities the new guidelines will define, the Alliance is upgrading its forces using the latest cutting edge technology.  We will be deploying U.S. Air Force Global Hawk unmanned aircraft rotationally, U.S. Navy P-8 maritime patrol aircraft, and U.S. Marine Corps F-35B aircraft.  Remaining vigilant against emerging threats, we are also coordinating in bilateral working groups to address challenges in new domains such as space and cyberspace. 

The United States and Japan agree on the importance of the peaceful denuclearization of North Korea.  In order to achieve this goal, we seek authentic and credible negotiations while ensuring that North Korea's provocative behavior and reluctance to live up to its international obligations incurs consequences.  Given North Korea's missile threat, we are strengthening bilateral cooperation on ballistic missile defense, including construction of a new X-Band radar facility in Japan.  The United States also recently announced the deployment of two additional Aegis ballistic missile defense vessels to Japan by 2017, further enhancing our defenses.  Together, these steps and others demonstrate our shared, strong commitment to protecting both Japan and the United States from North Korean aggression. 

We also cooperate in the area of domestic law enforcement to protect our citizens’ interests and safety.  Building on the February 7 signing of the bilateral Agreement on Preventing and Combating Serious Crime, we are deepening law enforcement cooperation to protect the citizens of both nations.  The United States welcomes Japan’s ongoing efforts to criminalize child pornography, as well as Japan’s consideration of criminalizing conspiracy to help combat transnational organized crime as part of the process allowing Japan to conclude the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the Palermo Protocol on Human Trafficking.  Moreover, on April 1, 2014, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction entered into effect in Japan.  The Convention provides a legal framework for securing the prompt return of wrongfully removed or retained children to their country of habitual residence, where a competent court can make determinations of child custody and access based on the child’s best interests.  We welcome Japan’s decision to join the Hague Convention and look forward to working closely to resolve existing and future international parental child abduction cases. 

Ensuring Stability and Prosperity around the World

The relationship between the United States and Japan is global in scope.  Rooted in shared values, our two countries address political, humanitarian and security related issues worldwide, working together to create a more safe, stable, and equitable world. 

The United States and Japan are supporting the efforts of the Ukrainian people to pursue democracy and economic development.  In The Hague, the leaders of the United States and Japan joined with the other G-7 Leaders to reaffirm our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence and committed to impose a variety of sanctions against Russia if Russia continues to escalate the situation in Ukraine. 

Japan and the United States promote stability, security, and prosperity in the Middle East.  Joining the United States, which is the largest contributor of humanitarian assistance to the region, in support of a united, democratic Syria, Japan has provided nearly $420 million in aid to assist conflict-affected and displaced populations in Syria, as well as Syrian refugees and countries hosting them, and assists in the destruction and elimination of Syria’s chemical weapon stockpile.  The United States and Japan have also been the leading donors of civilian assistance to Afghanistan, and have already pledged to continue their support through 2016. 

Moreover, the United States and Japan have consistently supported Middle East peace efforts, notably through assistance for Palestinian economic growth and institution building.  The United States is the largest donor to the Palestinian Authority, having committed approximately $5 billion in bilateral assistance since the mid-1990s.  Japan has committed $1.44 billion in assistance to the Palestinian Authority during the same timeframe and has made efforts to mobilize the expertise and resources of East Asian countries in assisting the Palestinians. 

Both countries are strong supporters of the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in expanding the benefits of the peaceful use of nuclear energy in health, agriculture, medicine, industry, and power to countries that comply with their nonproliferation obligations, and are the two largest supporters of the IAEA’s Peaceful Uses Initiative. 

Working with the United States to convince Iran to address the international community’s concerns about its nuclear program, Japan has significantly reduced its imports of Iranian oil and supports implementation of the Joint Plan of Action. 

Cooperating on Advanced Technologies

U.S.-Japan partnership in the areas of science and technology confronts a broad array of complex issues facing our two countries and the global community.  Under the auspices of the U.S.-Japan Science and Technology Agreement, our two countries have collaborated for over 25 years on scientific research in areas such as new energy technologies, emergency management, supercomputing, and critical materials.  In recognition of these achievements, the President and Prime Minister announced an extension of our bilateral Science and Technology Agreement for an additional 10 years. 

The United States and Japan share a commitment to an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable cyberspace.  To reinforce this commitment, the United States and Japan have strengthened their bilateral and international collaboration in promoting the multi-stakeholder system of Internet governance, developing the Internet economy, addressing national security issues in cyberspace, combating cybercrime, and enhancing cybersecurity and critical infrastructure cybersecurity in particular.  At the fifth U.S.-Japan Internet Economy Dialogue, the United States and Japan decided to work together in international discussions of internet policy issues to promote the free flow of information and further development of the global Internet economy, especially in developing countries.  At the second U.S.-Japan Cyber Dialogue, the United States and Japan reaffirmed their shared recognition and approach to cyber policy.  In particular, the two sides decided on more in-depth whole-of-government bilateral engagement on critical infrastructure cybersecurity and the establishment of international norms of state behavior and practical regional cyber confidence-building measures. 

The United States and Japan maintain robust and mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of peaceful exploration and use of outer space.  The Annual U.S.-Japan Comprehensive Dialogue on Space, scheduled for May 2014 in Washington, D.C., will advance our cooperation on the use of space for environmental research, scientific discovery, national and international security, and economic growth.  Japan plays a major role in the success of the International Space Station.  A robust multi-agency Japanese delegation attended the inaugural International Space Exploration Forum (ISEF) in Washington in January 2014.  The United States looks forward to supporting Japan as the host of the next ISEF.  Nearly 50 active documents underpin cooperation between NASA and Japan, including the launch of a NASA-built Global Precipitation Measurement satellite on a Japanese H-2A rocket in February 2014.  The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is one of the few international space agencies with which NASA cooperates in all mission areas – human space flight, Earth science, space science, space technology, and aeronautics research. 

Over the past year, Japan and the United States have signed an unprecedented set of documents to facilitate bilateral collaboration in robotics for disaster response.  A Japanese team came in first place in the December 2013 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge Trials for developing disaster response robotics technology, and Japan will field several more teams in 2015.  Our collaboration will yield robotic systems with greater ability to navigate difficult terrain and greater capacity to work with humans in addressing dangerous environments resulting from natural and manmade disasters. 

We also cooperate in the area of advanced health research and development.  The National Cancer Center of Japan and the U.S. National Cancer Institute recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote and conduct high-quality research to strengthen cancer prevention and control.  In addition, the U.S.-Japan Vaccine Policy Exchange (VPE), held annually since 2010, is serving to develop better understanding of short- and long- term goals for U.S. and Japanese vaccine policy.  

Securing a Clean Energy Future

The United States and Japan work together to share our skills and knowledge to develop clean, reliable, and efficient energy resources for current and future generations.  The U.S.-Japan Clean Energy Policy Dialogue, most recently held in December 2013, fosters coordination on policies and on research and development activities.  Through the Dialogue, U.S. and Japanese researchers are pursuing exchanges on fuel cell, solar, and geothermal technology, and contribute to our governments’ plan to collaborate on a joint project on microgrid systems.  The U.S.-Japan Renewable Energy Policy Business Roundtable, held in conjunction with the Dialogue, provides a venue for companies of both countries to discuss policy developments in the clean energy sector, identify new business opportunities, and share information on issues such as creative public-private financing mechanisms for renewable energy projects. 

The Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Cooperation consolidates and expands bilateral cooperation on civil nuclear energy, addressing issues such as nuclear safety and regulation, clean-up from the Fukushima nuclear accident, nuclear energy research and development, non-proliferation, safeguards and security, and emergency response.  The Bilateral Commission most recently met in November 2013, setting the stage for successful U.S.-Japan cooperation at the March 2014 Nuclear Security Summit.  The next meeting of the Bilateral Commission will be held in June 2014. Recent activities under the Bilateral Commission’s umbrella include the Japan-U.S. Decommissioning and Remediation Fukushima Recovery Forum, which met February 18-19 in Tokyo and brought together representatives from U.S. and Japanese firms to discuss potential partnerships to assist with Fukushima recovery.  That same week, under the auspices of the Bilateral Commission’s Civil Nuclear Energy Research and Development Working Group, the Department of Energy and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry held a U.S.-Japan roundtable on probabilistic risk assessment methodologies and their applications for nuclear safety.  The United States welcomes Japan’s October 2013 announcement of its plans to ratify the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage in the near future, demonstrating its leadership in the establishment of a global nuclear liability regime. 

Japan and the United States have extensive cooperation on nuclear security.  Bilaterally, Japanese and U.S. agencies work together under the Nuclear Security Working Group toward nine nuclear security goals.  We also cooperate closely in multilateral fora, including the Nuclear Security Summits, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.  We welcome Japan’s March 2014 announcement of its plans to remove hundreds of kilograms of highly enriched uranium and plutonium to the United States for disposition.  We are also working together, with three other countries, on nuclear transportation security and highlighted this work at the third Nuclear Security Summit this March. 

Finally, Japan and the United States work together on climate change issues, including through a bilateral dialogue.  We will continue our close cooperation, including in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, with the goal of securing the participation of all major economies and other major emitters in an effective, ambitious, and durable global climate change agreement to be adopted in 2015. 

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