US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 2.18

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Publications US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 2.18

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Image Source: The Yomiuri Shimbun

  • Officials discuss alliance initiatives on sidelines of UN Gen Assembly
  • INDOPACOM Commander in Japan as allies test logistics integration
  • US works to aid Japan’s scallop industry hit by China ban
  • US unmanned surface ships arrive at 7th Fleet for first exercises
  • US Space Force expands initiatives with Japan SDF and private sector


  • Secretary of State Blinken and Foreign Minister Kamikawa met on Sept 18 in New York to discuss Indo-Pacific security threats, the Taiwan Strait, and upholding the rules-based international order. Separately, the pair met with South Korea’s FM Park to discuss countering North Korean aggression and maintaining momentum of the Camp David summit. They also joined a G7 Foreign Ministers meeting that discussed Russia, China, the Indo-Pacific and beyond. At the UN, Prime Minister Kishida urged the global community to work together to avoid confrontation, highlighting Russian aggression and calling for action on climate and public health crises. President Biden also addressed the General Assembly, urging a collective effort for “a more secure, more prosperous, more equitable world for all people.”
  • US INDOPACOM Commander Adm Aquilino met PM Kishida, Defense Minister Kihara, and other officials during a Japan visit on September 27. This came just a few days after the conclusion of the largest annual field training exercise between the US Army and Ground Self-Defense Forces, named Orient Shield 23. One objective is to increase logistical interoperability, bilaterally and with other regional partners, as it followed US-Japan participation in Talisman Sabre in Australia this summer and Super Garuda Shield with partner nations in Indonesia in mid-September. The effort is part of a strategy to scatter logistical channels and deter nations from attempting to change the status quo by force. Nikkei reported that the Japanese government is beginning discussions with prefectures and cities to upgrade civilian infrastructure (33 airports, 10 ports) for possible defense use during emergencies including regional contingencies.
  • US Embassy Tokyo is working with Japan to help its scallop industry hit by China’s seafood import ban, prompted by a dispute over the release of treated water around Fukushima. China’s ban was called a form of “economic coercion” by US Ambassador Emanuel, and it runs counter to safety assurances by Japan, international bodies, and many seafood importing neighbors. Last year China processed $100 million of Japanese scallops for the US market, so now US officials are facilitating connections with US-registered processing plants in Vietnam, Taiwan, and Thailand to fill the void.
  • The US Navy’s 7th Fleet welcomed four Unmanned Surface Vessels (USV) in late September. The vessels are the first such craft operating from Japan and took part in the Integrated Battle Problem 23.2 exercise that placed them into the Yokosuka-based fleet. USV Division 1 commander CMDR Jeremiah Daley described how the USVs augment the Navy’s battle space awareness, shorten the kill chain, and increase the range and accuracy of offensive weapons.
  • Defense Minister Kihara and US Space Force Chief of Operations Gen. Saltzman met in Tokyo September 25 to discuss boosting space cooperation via a new USSF base in Japan. The move would bolster Indo-Pacific security, deepen information sharing with Japan’s Self Defense Forces, and promote trilateral cooperation with South Korea. Separately, Japanese space services firm Astroscale signed a $37 million agreement (under Other Transaction Authority) with US Space Force in September to co-fund and co-develop a refueling vehicle for satellites in orbit, to be delivered by 2026.

“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

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