The inaugural NEXT Alliance Conference (NAC) was held in Washington, D.C. and Annapolis, MD from November 4 to 7, 2022. It is one of two offsite “retreats” convened each year by Sasakawa USA focused on a priority issue area for the US-Japan NEXT Alliance Initiative. The Fall 2022 NAC explored US-Japan economic security policy coordination.
The US and Japanese delegations carried out a series of discussions over the long weekend with briefings from US government officials on different economic security topics including cyber security, export controls, and fostering technology innovation, followed by travel to Annapolis, MD for a two-day bilateral workshop that dove deeper into each policy area.
The objective of this NAC was to foster substantive bilateral expert dialogue on complex issues surrounding economic security policy coordination within the alliance, and to support greater mutual understanding and broader public awareness of these issues. Specifically, we focused on 1) perceptions of economic security, 2) data and cyber security, 3) export controls, and 4) fostering innovation.
Economic security has become a top concern for policy makers in both countries, as national vulnerabilities to unbalanced supply chains, energy market disruption, cyber security threats, and intense technology competition are pushing governments to adopt countermeasures in pursuit of stability and long-term economic and military competitiveness. However, these countermeasures—be the new export controls, investment restrictions, data governance rules, reshoring subsidies, or innovation initiatives—will be less effective if poorly coordinated among allies. Our focus, therefore, was to examine how economic security policy coordination is carried out within the alliance and explore options for improvement, when appropriate.
For the inaugural NEXT Alliance Conference’s (NAC) agenda and participant list, click here.
US Government Briefings
Briefing 1: Science & Innovation Strategies
The first US Government briefing by Mr. Jason Donavan of the Office of Science and Technology Cooperation (STC) covered science & innovation strategies. The group discussed US-Japan coordination on science collaboration policy, research integrity, emerging technologies, and other related issues.
Briefing 2: Economic 2+2
The second briefing was an update on the US-Japan Economic Policy Consultative Committee (or “Economic 2+2”) by Ms. Pamela Phan (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia, Global Markets, Department of Commerce); Ms. Kemy Monahan (Director for East Asia, National Security Council); and Mr. Joel Ehrendreich (Director, Office of Japanese Affairs, Department of State). Participants discussed progress made by the US & Japan in building stronger economic bonds, coordinating economic security policies, and engaging with like-minded nations on this strategic agenda.
Briefing 3: Semiconductor Issues/Export Controls
The third briefing by Mr. Tarun Chhabra (Senior Director for Technology and National Security, National Security Council) covered semiconductor issues and export controls. A major topic of discussion was the October US announcement of new export controls on advanced computing and semiconductor manufacturing items to China.
Mr. Naoshi Hirose: Economic Security
The first speaker of the conference was Mr. Naoshi Hirose, Special Adviser to the METI Minister, who provided a keynote address on economic security and next steps for the US-Japan alliance.
Dr. Michael Nelson: What’s Shaping the Digital Transformation
The second conference speaker was Dr. Michael Nelson, Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who gave a keynote address at lunch on Saturday following the morning workshops. His remarks were entitled “What’s Shaping the Digital Transformation.”
Dr. Patricia Falcone: Strategic Science & Technology Cooperation with Allies
The third conference speaker was Dr. Patricia Falcone, Deputy Director for Science and Technology at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Her keynote address was entitled “Strategic Science & Technology Cooperation with Allies.”
Session 1: Alliance Perceptive on Economic Security
The first weekend session began Saturday morning with presentations by Mr. Akira Igata of the University of Tokyo and Dr. Mireya Solís of the Brookings Institution, kicking off group discussion about alliance perceptions on economic security.
Dr. Mireya Solís: Economic Security: Boon or Bane for the US-Japan Alliance?
経済安全保障: 日米同盟の追い風となるか向かい風となるか (Solís, Japanese version)
Session 2: Data and Cybersecurity Issues
The second session began with presentations from Ms. Mihoko Matsubara, Chief Cybersecurity Strategist at NTT and Dr. Barbara Grewe, Director for International Strategy and Policy at MITRE on the topic of data and cybersecurity issues.
サイバーセキュリティとデータセキュリティの日米協力がなぜ両国の経済安全保障に不可欠か (Matsubara, Japanese version)
Session 3: Coordination on Export Controls
The third session began with a presentation by Professor Kazuto Suzuki, the Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Tokyo on US-Japan coordination on export controls. Sasakawa USA Senior director James Schoff presented slides prepared by Mr. Kevin Wolf, Non-Resident Senior Fellow at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, who was unable to attend the workshop at the last minute.
Session 4: Pursuing a Technology Alliance
The final issue-specific session of the conference featured presentations from Mr. Jun Kazeki, of the National Graduate Research Institute for Policy Studies and Mr. Martijn Rasser, Senior Fellow/Director of the Technology and National Security Program at CNAS, who spoke about the US and Japan pursuing a technology alliance.
経済安全保障と先端技術 技術アライアンスに向けて日本の視点 (Kazeki, Japanese version)
Mr. Martijn Rasser: Pursuing a Technology Alliance: The T-14
Wrap-up Session: Review/recommendation
Prior to the conclusion of the workshop, participants took time to reflect on the weekend’s discussions and consider overall policy recommendations. Senior Director Schoff led an interactive dialogue where participants worked to outline the strengths of US-Japan policy coordination and areas that need improvement.
After the weekend workshop, some participants from the conference joined a public symposium convened by Mireya Solis of the Brookings Institution on “Economic security in the Indo-Pacific: Implications for US-Japan relations.” Dr. Solis (left) moderated the panel discussion featuring (from left to right) Mr. James Schoff, Ms. Mihoko Matsubara, Mr. Jun Kazeki, and Dr. Scott Kennedy. The video of this event is available here.