US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 1.21

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Publications US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 1.21

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Image Source: Reuters
  • Japan asks US to loosen electric vehicle tax credit rules
  • Allies conduct large-scale Keen Sword exercises as leaders meet
  • Allies try to address US base impact issues in Japan
  • US and Japanese health & science institutes start new collaboration
  • US and Japanese officials announce nuclear power initiative with Ghana


  • The Japanese government asked the US for an easing of rules surrounding tax credits on electric vehicles (EVs) following a similar request by South Korea. EV tax credits are part of the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law in August, allotting $7,500 in credits to US consumers on certain models. The law restricts tax credits to EVs assembled in North America, placing many Japanese auto makers at a disadvantage. Tokyo’s request is that the credits be extended to nearly completed cars exported from Japan undergoing final assembly in North America. Japan is also seeking more flexibility about where certain battery minerals are sourced. Japan’s input was submitted in response to the US Treasury Department’s public comment period.
  • The biennial exercise Keen Sword 2023 began on November 10 and involves nearly 40,000 US and Japanese military personnel across the Japanese archipelago. This is one of the largest allied exercises promoting comprehensive interoperability and readiness between the US and Japan across land, sea, air, cyber and space domains. This year saw the Japanese Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade conduct amphibious landings alongside US Marines from the Third Marine Expeditionary Force. In addition, the allies functioned together in Bilateral Ground Tactical Control Centers where they practiced command and control in a unilateral and bilateral capacity. A total of four warships and two airplanes from Australia, Canada and Britain also joined the drills. “Strengthening” and “modernizing” the US-Japan alliance was a central theme in a November 13 meeting between President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Cambodia.
  • Allied efforts to alleviate negative impacts of the US military presence in Japan continue, as the US Navy completed installation of new wastewater treatment filters at its Yokosuka base in early November to reduce PFOA and PFOS chemical discharge levels. The two chemicals are found in firefighting foam, aircraft grease, and other products, and local officials had complained about higher-than-acceptable-levels found in recent tests. Also, US F-15C Eagles assigned to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa participated in Aviation Training Relocation activities at Tsuiki Air Base in Fukuoka Prefecture with Japanese counterparts. The mid-November exercises helped reduce the training volume in Okinawa and supported joint shared use of bases in other parts of Japan, consistent with alliance modernization.
  • US Ambassador to Japan Emanuel hosted a signing ceremony in Naha between the Cleveland Clinic and the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) that launches a new bilateral collaboration. The signing establishes a research fellowship for one of Cleveland Clinic’s fourth year medical students at OIST and creates a framework for future joint projects. Emanuel has been actively promoting the linking of Japanese and American centers of excellence across a variety of fields.
  • In late October, US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Jenkins and Japan’s State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Ota announced deeper cooperation to support the deployment of small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) and other advanced reactor technologies in partner countries. The initiative, called Winning an Edge Through Cooperation in Advanced Nuclear (WECAN), begins with a partnership with Ghana. Japanese and US firms such as IHI Corp, plant builder JGC Corp, and NuScale Power are participating.

“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

Download US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 1.21

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