Sasakawa USA Blog

This blog features a look at news, events, commentary and media related to Sasakawa USA and the U.S.-Japan relationship.

US-Japan Alliance Digest -Vol 1.9-



To download as a PDF, please click here.




fImage Source: The Jiji Press Ltd

● Austin and Kishi discuss defense strategy and Ukraine implications for Asia

● In-person diplomacy in full swing as Diet Members/Ministers visit Washington

● First Vice-ministerial “Economic 2+2” meeting held in Washington

● Next Alliance Initiative hosts dialogue on countering economic coercion

● Honoring the life and contributions of Toshihiro Nakayama




● US Defense Secretary Austin met Japanese Defense Minister Kishi in Washington on May 4 to promote alignment of their national defense strategies and consider the security implications of recent actions by Russia, China, and North Korea. They also discussed ways to deepen cooperation with other like-minded partners, including Australia, South Korea, and India. Kishi explained Japan’s plan to develop its next-generation fighter jet with UK and US input, and he visited US Cyber Command and US Missile Defense Agency.

● Several other Japanese Cabinet Ministers, Diet Members, and top policy makers took advantage of more relaxed Covid rules to visit Washington during Japan’s Golden Week holiday in the first week of May. Two Diet delegations led by the LDP’s Amari and Kono engaged with US legislative counterparts and government officials, along with visits by METI Minister Hagiuda (meeting Commerce Secretary Raimondo and Energy Secretary Granholm), National Security Advisor Akiba (meeting National Security Advisor Sullivan and Secretary of State Blinken), and Economic Security Minister Kobayashi. Kobayashi met NASA administrator Nelson and acting Science Advisor to the President Collins, among others.

● The inaugural vice-ministerial meeting of the US-Japan Economic Policy Consultative Committee (EPCC, or Economic “2+2”) occurred in Washington on May 6. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Fernandez joined Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Lago in hosting Japanese Senior Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Suzuki and METI Vice Minister for International Affairs Hirose. They began preparing to collaborate more closely on supply chain resilience, coordination on export controls, countering economic coercion, and competing in the digital economy. A ministerial EPCC is being planned for later in 2022.

● On May 3 the US-Japan NEXT Alliance Initiative convened a bilateral dialogue on an emerging area of alliance interest: countering economic coercion measures applied by China against third countries. The discussion was attended by about two dozen high-ranking parliamentarians of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Japanese scholars, US government officials, US Congressional staff members, and US scholars. The group considered ways in which the US and Japan could help support third countries that were being targeted by Chinese economic coercion tactics and what kinds of policy tools might be helpful in this regard. A not-for-attribution summary of the dialogue will be published on Sasakawa USA’s website.

Alliance Digest would like to take a moment to honor the innumerable contributions to US-Japan friendship and mutual understanding that Professor Toshihiro Nakayama made throughout his professional life. Nakayama died suddenly and far too soon on May 1, and the alliance must now carry on without one of Japan’s finest scholars of American politics and society. Sasakawa Peace Foundation was proud to sponsor Nakayama’s time at the Wilson Center as Japan Fellow in 2018-2019. As US author Sheila Smith noted eloquently in a memorial essay, the US-Japan community is confronting a profound loss of this “renowned scholar, gifted public intellectual and gracious colleague.”


“US-Japan Alliance Digest” is a bi-weekly summary of bilateral and related developments compiled by Sasakawa USA’s “US-Japan NEXT Alliance Initiative.” To receive “Alliance Digest” via email, contact

Working at Sasakawa USA: Associate Program Officer

Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA (Sasakawa USA) is pleased to announce an opening for a full-time Associate Program Officer. The Associate Program Officer will provide programming support for several of Sasakawa USA’s programs, working directly with the Director of Programs.

How to Apply

US-Japan Alliance Digest -Vol 1.8-



To download as a PDF, please click here.




Image Source: Nikkei Asia

● Yellen and Suzuki discuss global economy and forex agreements

● US and Japan join with others to harmonize cross-border data privacy rules

● New South Korean president’s delegation visits Washington and Tokyo

● NTT’s Sawada discusses cooperation with US on 5G networks

● Japan welcomes US halt to anti-satellite missile testing




● US Treasury Secretary Yellen consulted with Japanese Finance Minister Suzuki in Washington on April 22 following the IMF/World Bank annual meetings. The pair reaffirmed their condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and agreed to uphold existing G7 and G20 commitments on exchange rates. Minister Suzuki denied that the meeting was focused on intervention to support the yen, though they did pledge to work closely to on currency movements considering the yen’s rapid depreciation against the dollar. The yen reached 20-year lows following expected US interest rate hikes, while the Bank of Japan holds steady.

● US Secretary of Commerce Raimondo on April 21 hailed the establishment of a Global-Cross-Border Privacy Rules (CBPR) Forum involving Japan and five other Asia-Pacific economies (Canada, South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, and Taiwan). The goals include building an international certification system based on the APEC CBPR and Privacy Recognition for Processors (PRP) systems, supporting the free flow of protected data, and promoting best practices and interoperability with other data projection and privacy frameworks. Global CBPR Forum certifications will be based on the APEC CBPR and PRP model, but they will be administered independently. Participation in the Global CBPR and PRP is open to all countries who accept the objectives and principles of the Forum outlined in its declaration. Ideally it will be compatible with the Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework recently outlined by the United States and European Commission, but details are still pending.

● A delegation of South Korean lawmakers and policy experts sent by President-Elect Yoon arrived in Tokyo on April 24, after some of them visited Washington earlier in April. Delegation leader Chung Jin-suk delivered a letter from Yoon to Prime Minister Kishida during a meeting on April 26, outlining Yoon’s ideas for improving bilateral ties. The delegation also met Foreign Minister Hayashi, METI Minister Hagiuda (in part discussing export controls), Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno, and Defense Minister Kishi (conferring on North Korea). President Biden is preparing to visit both South Korea and Japan in late May, when efforts to improve trilateral relations will be among the trips’ priorities.

● US Ambassador Emanuel thanked NTT CEO Sawada on April 20 for his telecom company’s investment in the US and its pledge to coordinate on developing secure 5G communication networks. US-Japan cooperation in this area is described in a paper by NEXT Alliance Initiative visiting research fellow Tomoko Tanaka-Makino, entitled “US-Japan Focus on Scaling Up Open RAN Technology Can Support Secure 5G Globally.” On April 26, Sawada was tapped to become the Chairman of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, with Akira Shimada to fill his role as president.

● US Vice President Harris announced the United States will halt direct-ascent anti-satellite (ASAT) missile testing and advocate internationally for the responsible use of space. Japan’s Foreign Ministry Press Secretary Ono welcomed the announcement, calling it a positive step towards creating norms of responsible behavior in space. The move comes six months after Russia destroyed one of its own satellites causing thousands of pieces of space debris, which is dangerous for global space operations.


“US-Japan Alliance Digest” is a bi-weekly summary of bilateral and related developments compiled by Sasakawa USA’s “US-Japan NEXT Alliance Initiative.” To receive “Alliance Digest” via email, contact

Sasakawa USA Internships for Communications Summer 2022

Sasakawa USA is looking for a Communications Intern to support our activities, programs, and outreach. The Communications Intern will work for and be supervised by the Associate Communications Manager. Communications duties will include supporting the upkeep and growth of Sasakawa USA’s websites, social media pages, and newsletters; drafting event recaps, items on current news events, and other items to feature in digital communications; and assisting with media for various public outreach programs. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis through April 29, 2022. This internship will start in mid-May and is expected to last until the end of August. Please note that all internships are currently hybrid due to the pandemic.

How To Apply

US-Japan Alliance Digest -Vol 1.7-



To download as a PDF, please click here.




Image Source: World Nuclear News

● JBIC investment in NuScale shows deepening energy partnership

● US Senators visit Japan, more in-person diplomacy resumes

● New Special Measures Agreement for USFJ takes effect

● Blinken and Hayashi meet at NATO foreign ministers meeting

● US-Japan Steel Agreement goes into effect




● The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) invested $110 million in the American energy company NuScale Power on April 4, as a way to support simultaneously Japan’s Strategic Energy Plan, the US-Japan Climate Partnership, and the alliance’s new Competitiveness and Resilience (CoRe) Partnership. Established in 2007, NuScale is working to commercialize small modular reactor (SMR) technology, which offers cost and safety advantages over older nuclear energy technology. Japanese engineering companies JGC and IHI will participate in this commercialization effort via an entity they formed called Japan NuScale Innovation (JNI).

● A bipartisan delegation of US Senators arrived in Japan on April 12 to meet with PM Kishida, former PM Abe and other top officials and private sector representatives. Senators Hagerty (TN), Cornyn (TX) and Cardin (MD) discussed strengthening the alliance, the war in Ukraine, and regional security issues involving Taiwan and North Korea. Cornyn and Cardin also visited the US 7th Fleet’s homeport in Yokosuka and toured the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier. COVID-19 caused the postponement of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s planned April trip to Tokyo with her delegation, but in-person diplomacy overall is increasing. Mid-April through early May will see at least two Diet delegations visit Washington, along with Finance Minister Suzuki for IMF/World Bank meetings and North American Affairs Director General Ichikawa for alliance consultations. President Biden announced plans to visit Japan from May 22.

● The New Special Measures Agreement (SMA), in which Japan will play a greater role in alliance readiness and resiliency, went into effect on April 1. The government of Japan will invest about ¥1 trillion, or $8.3 billion, to this endeavor over the next five years. Allocated funds will go towards equipment, materials, utilities and services provided in support of US forces in Japan, but also ¥164 billion of facility improvements that can benefit from both countries’ forces. The goal of combined benefit was a notable theme in the bilateral agreement, which includes a new funding category of up to 20 billion yen for purchasing advanced virtual combat training systems for joint exercises.

● In a first for a Japanese official, Foreign Minister Hayashi attended a NATO ministerial and to meet US Secretary of State Blinken and his European counterparts to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Hayashi’s visit to Brussels also involved a G7 meeting covering several regional security issues including North Korean missile tests and the tensions in the East and South China Seas. In addition, he reaffirmed Japan’s ongoing coordination with allies and partners in support for Ukraine and sought to deter Russian threats to implement biological or chemical weapons in their ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

● An agreement on steel tariffs between the US and Japan earlier this year went into effect on April 1. Alliance Digest volume 1.3, initially reported that the US would repeal the former administrations tariffs on 25 million metric tons of steel (melted and poured in Japan). The proclamation put out by The White House on March 31 outlines the amount of steel subject to the agreement, its corresponding legislation, and the process by which the trade of steel to and from Japan should be handled. The agreement does not appear to cover affected aluminum products.


“US-Japan Alliance Digest” is a bi-weekly summary of bilateral and related developments compiled by Sasakawa USA’s “US-Japan NEXT Alliance Initiative.” To receive “Alliance Digest” via email, contact