US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 1.19

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Publications US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 1.19

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Headlines

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  • Trilateral defense cooperation strengthens amid North Korean tests
  • Hitachi and GE team up for nuclear reactor development
  • Google’s new Chiba data facility spearheads Japan push
  • US-Japan Business Council holds meeting with new Executive Director
  • Mayor of Yokosuka city calls for water investigation at US base

Details

  • North Korea flew an intermediate range missile over northern Japan on October 4, the first time in five years, as part of a recent increase in missile testing tempo that included possible submarine-launched missiles on October 9 and nuclear-capable cruise missiles fired into the sea on October 12. The cruise missiles could have the ability to reach as far as Okinawa. Around this same time span, US and Japanese forces have continued joint military training bilaterally and with South Korea in anti-submarine warfare drills and missile defense exercises, among others. President Biden reassured Prime Minister Kishida of America’s “ironclad commitment to Japan’s defense” in a call on October 4. At various levels the US and Japanese governments have been coordinating deterrence and diplomatic efforts recently with South Korea to support regional peace and stability.
  • Japanese and American industrial giants Hitachi and GE announced their collaboration on a design of a safer nuclear reactor on September 30. The joint venture seeks to boost safety features and address issues that contributed to the Fukushima Daiichi plant accident in 2011. The improved technology focusses on developing an advanced light water reactor with the ability to cool nuclear fuel in the event of power loss. Ten days later, Cameco Corp and Brookfield Renewable Partners said they would acquire nuclear power plant equipment maker Westinghouse Electric (formerly controlled by Japan’s Toshiba) in a $7.9 billion deal, amid renewed interest in nuclear energy.
  • Google CEO Pichai announced ambitious plans in Japan on October 7, including the opening of its first data center there in 2023. Google’s new facility in Chiba Prefecture will be its third in Asia after Singapore and Taiwan. Pichai met with Prime Minister Kishida to explain his company’s investment plan and said that the data center is part of a $730 million investment into Google’s Japanese infrastructure. The company is also behind the construction of a new subsea cable called Topaz, which will link the North American continent to Japan from 2023.
  • The US-Japan Business Council (USJBC) announced at the end of September that Tomoko Hosaka Mullaney will take over as Executive Director. Mullaney previously served as a vice president of The Asia Group in Washington, where she guided US business leaders through the Japanese economic, geopolitical and market landscape. The USJBC was established in 1971 at the US Chamber of Commerce with the mission of promoting stronger economic ties between the two countries and advancing US business interests in Japan. On October 11-12 it met in Washington with its Japan counterpart (Japan-US Business Council) and discussed economic security issues among 135 participating companies.
  • Yokosuka’s Mayor Kamiji on October 6 called on the commander of US Naval Forces Japan to launch an investigation following the detection of contaminants in wastewater coming from Yokosuka Naval Base. Japanese law allows for up to 50 nanograms of Perfluoro octane sulfonic acid (PFOS) in circulation, but the Kanagawa base water treatment plant showed signs of more than 100 times that amount. The World Health Organization considers PFOS to be a “possible carcinogen,” which is found in many products including firefighting foam. Kamiji said the incident damages mutual trust. USN Rear Admiral Lahti apologized and said that although wastewater expulsion cannot be halted, filters would be installed as soon as possible, and the source investigated.

“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 egulum@spfusa.org.

Download US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 1.19

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