US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 1. 23

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Publications US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 1. 23

Download US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 1. 23

Headlines


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  • US-Japan intelligence center opens as alliance integrates further
  • Inaugural Japan-US Energy Security Dialogue meets in Tokyo
  • Kagoshima governor approves Mage island for military drills
  • New Japanese EV auto battery plant to bring jobs to South Carolina
  • Plan to relocate US Marines from Okinawa to Guam moves ahead

Details

  • On November 29, US and Japanese military leaders co-hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the US-Japan Bilateral Intelligence Analysis Cell (BIAC) at Yokota Air Base. The center will increase real-time information sharing capabilities between the Self Defense-Forces (SDF) and the US military to support security cooperation. The move reflects a trend toward more jointness within and among alliance forces to expand defense capacity. Japan is planning to reorganize the SDF under a permanent joint headquarters, for example, according to a new National Defense Strategy scheduled for release on December 16. Also, the allies conducted their “largest and most complex forward US-Japan command post exercise to date,” during the first two weeks of December at Yama Sakura (YS) 83. Japan’s expected pursuit of counter-strike capability will be another driver of this “security integration” trend.
  • Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister for Economic Affairs Namazu met US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Security Pyatt in Japan for the launch of the US-Japan Energy Security Dialogue on December 1-2. The pair discussed energy security, energy transition, and energy access and assistance to Ukraine to alleviate disruption caused by Russia’s invasion. Pyatt also met Deputy Commissioner for International Policy on Carbon Neutrality Minami. The meetings built upon the action plan set by the Economic 2+2 earlier this year. Both officials pledged to continue decarbonizing their economies and assisting Indo-Pacific nations with clean affordable energy. In other Econ 2+2 follow-up news, on December 1 the Federal Register announced a request for public comment on US-Japan export control cooperation to inform the work of the Japan-US Commercial and Industrial Partnership’s Export Control Working Group.
  • Kagoshima Prefecture Governor Shiota approved plans for building a military training airfield on the uninhabited island of Mage to accommodate US drills that currently take place on Iwoto. The approval of the project comes after Shiota’s recognition of the “increasingly severe security environment” around Japan, feeling that the prefecture had “no choice but” to accept the plan after many years. The project was long hindered for ecological reasons. The US military had conducted takeoff and landing practices at its Atsugi base near Tokyo, but the training site was moved to Iwoto due to noise complaints. Then the US aircraft moved to Iwakuni, and Mage is much closer compared to Iwoto.
  • Japanese battery manufacturer Envision AESC will open a new $810 million facility in South Carolina. The investment will create 1,170 jobs at a new 1.5 million square foot plant. The factory will produce cutting edge battery cells to be used in next generation vehicles at BMW’s group plant in nearby Spartanburg. At a county press conference on December 6, AESC Group CEO Matsumoto said the move strengthens commitment to grow the electrification supply chain and create good jobs in the United States. Construction of the plant will begin in the summer of 2023.
  • A plan to relocate around 4,000 Okinawa-based US Marines is moving forward, according to US military officials. The move to Guam is contingent upon the construction of Camp Blaz, which was delayed by the pandemic but will now be ready to receive personnel in 2024. The nearly $12 million funding for the project is provided jointly by the US and Japan governments under a 2006 force realignment plan to redistribute US forces off Okinawa to reduce the island’s hosting burden.

“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.

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