NEXT Alliance Conference Spring 2024, Tokyo

The fourth NEXT Alliance Conference (NAC) was held in Tokyo from March 1-4, 2024. It is one of two offsite “retreats” Sasakawa USA has convened annually in the past two years focused on a priority issue area for the US-Japan NEXT Alliance Initiative. The Spring 2024 NAC revisited economic security policy coordination, this time with an emphasis on semiconductors, as they have become a top concern for policy makers in both countries. The allies have adopted a variety of measures to support reshoring, protect cutting-edge technology, and invest in the industry of the future, but, these countermeasures will be less effective if poorly coordinated.

The US and Japanese delegations began a long weekend of discussions with briefings from Japan government officials on economic security policies as they related to semiconductors. The government briefings covered new legislation on economic security, the US-Japan Economic 2+2, and an action plan for strengthening industrial technology infrastructure for economic security.

The focus of subsequent workshop discussion centered on: 1) semiconductor supply chain resiliency; 2) export controls; 3) research and development collaboration; and 4) next steps for alliance economic security. Its objective 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. Around 40 specialists from the private sector, think tanks, academia, and government from the two nations participated in the not-for-attribution Track 1.5 dialogue. A subset of the group later discussed these topics publicly at a March 4 event co-hosted by the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST), Economic Security Research Program (ESRP), University of Tokyo, before an audience of about seventy.

  • For the fourth NEXT Alliance Conference’s (NAC) agenda and participant list, click here.
  • To read more summaries from the economic security dialogue series, click here.

 

Japan Government Briefings:

Briefing 1: New Economic Security Legislation

The first government briefing by Mr. Yoichi IIDA, Cabinet Councillor of the Cabinet Secretariat concerned Japan’s new economic security legislation.

Briefing 2: US-Japan Economic 2+2

The second government briefing by Mr. Takatoshi MORI, Director of the 2nd North America Division of the North American Affairs Bureau at MOFA alongside Mr. Ryosuke FUJII, Director of the Americas Division, Trade policy Bureau at METI addressed the US-Japan Economic 2+2.

Briefing 3: Action Plan for Strengthening Industrial Technology Infrastructure for Economic Security

The final government briefing of the morning by Mr. Kazumi NISHIKAWA, Principal Director, Economic Security Office at METI, provided valuable insights into the action plan for strengthening industrial technology infrastructure for economic security.

Keynote Speakers:

Friday evening “kick-off” dinner speaker

        

The first speaker of the conference was Mr. Jason Hyland, Senior Advisor, Dentons Global Advisors – Albright Stonebridge Group, and Director, BrioNexus KK during the “kick-off” dinner on March 1. His opening remarks covered the culture of innovation in the US and how Japanese universities could create an environment of innovation through greater endowment and funding. In the latter half of the dinner, Mr. Hyland joined Senior Director Schoff in a fireside chat style format for further discussion and to field questions from conference participants.

Saturday working lunch speaker

     

The second guest speaker of the conference was Dr. Atsuyoshi KOIKE, President and CEO of Rapidus Corporation during the working lunch on March 2. He gave an inspiring presentation to NEXT Alliance Conference participants about his company’s ambitious plans to mass produce 2nm chips, their vision for a Hokkaido Silicon Valley, and the future of semiconductors as they relate to the US and Japan.

Workshop Sessions:

Welcome and Opening Remarks

The Saturday morning workshops were opened with remarks by Mr. Ray Greene, Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy Tokyo.

Session 1: Emerging Market Semiconductor Supply Chain Diversification

   

The first session began with opening commentator Ms. Mary Thornton, VP of Global Policy at SIA and Dr. Takeyasu FUJIKI, Associate Professor of Economics at Wakayama University. Following initial presentations, session discussant Mr. Kazuhiro SUGIYAMA, Consulting Director at OMDIA helped kick-off group dialogue on supply chain diversification moderated by Sr. Director Jim Schoff. The group discussed potential implications and opportunities for semiconductors related to the recent entry into force of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) Supply Chain Agreement, along with coordinated support for supply chain infrastructure investment in certain South and Southeast Asian countries.

Session 2: Semiconductor Export Control Coordination

   

The second session began with opening remarks from Mr. Kevin Wolf, Partner at Akin Gump and Mr. Yasushi TAGAMI, Member of the Board and General Manager of International Export Control Research and Cooperation Department, CISTEC. Following initial presentations, Dr. Crystal Pryor, Senior Research Fellow, Center for Policy Research (CPR) at SUNY Albany and NEXT Alliance Initiative Non-Resident Scholar moderated the group discussion.  The group considered ways to improve bilateral and multilateral coordination on export controls, as well as ideas for facilitating private sector compliance through appropriate information sharing and simplifying procedures when feasible.

Session 3: Fostering Productive R&D Collaboration

        

The third session was opened with remarks by moderator Ms. Kathleen Kingscott, Sr. Advisor at IBM Research and followed by presentations Mr. Michael Frank, Senior Fellow at CSIS and Mr. Satoshi YAMADA, visiting senior research fellow, Institute of Geoeconomics on potential areas for collaboration in research and development. The group reviewed US and Japanese national efforts to support semiconductor R&D, considered potential areas of synergy, and shared best practices for public-private partnerships.

Session 4: Next Steps for Economic Security

   

The fourth session, moderated by Sr. Director Jim Schoff, began with remarks Dr. Crystal Pryor, Senior Research Fellow, Center for Policy Research (CPR) at SUNY Albany and NEXT Alliance Initiative Non-Resident Scholar along with Mr. Akira IGATA, Project Lecturer at the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Tokyo on the topic of next steps for the US and Japan to take in developing their individual and joint economic security.

Session 5: Review/Recommendations Session

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 with participants.

Public Event:

 

     

On March 4, the final day of the conference, a subset of conference participants journeyed to The University of Tokyo’s Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST) for the public facing portion of the conference. NAC participant and Project Lecturer at RCAST (and Director of its Economic Security Research Program), Akira Igata, hosted Sr. Director Jim Schoff, Dr. Crystal Pryor of SUNY Albany’s Center for Policy Research, Ms. Kathleen Kingscott of IBM Research, and Mr. Kevin Wolf of Akin Gump in a fireside chat discussion after they delivered individual reflections on the weekend’s discussions. Following Igata’s directed questions, the panelists fielded questions from the audience. The 70-plus attendees were comprised of students, academics, embassy officials, along with private and public sector representatives.

Photos:

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