US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 2. 2

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Publications US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 2. 2

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  • US and Japan agree to promote Open RAN telecom networks
  • US and Japan firms form alliance for possible carbon capture projects
  • Ceremony for naming of new US Marine base held on Guam
  • Poll shows Japanese desire larger role in US-Japan security alliance
  • Okinawa government opposes USMC request to use civilian airport


  • The Japanese and US governments signed an agreement on January 18 to help develop open, resilient telecommunications networks Japan’s Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) Minister Takeaki Matsumoto met with US Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves in Washington to discuss a range of cooperative initiatives, including this memorandum between MIC and the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). One focus area of cooperation is support for Open RAN (Radio Access Network) technology that allows for interoperability between multiple vendors’ equipment for cellular wireless networks. As part of the effort, both countries will share data and spread the technology abroad. NTT Docomo has operated “5G Open RAN Ecosystem” since early 2021 to increase Open RAN use with cooperation from 13 companies including Dell and Intel.
  • US oil giant Exxon Mobil on January 25 agreed to a plan with Japan’s biggest steel maker Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Corp to explore possible carbon dioxide capture and storage projects by building value chains for overseas underground storage of CO2 emitted by Japanese steel plants. The companies will evaluate Asia Pacific storage opportunities, including in Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia. They say this is the first study to develop value chains for carbon capture in Japan with the aim to store elsewhere overseas in the region.
  • The US Marine Corps on January 26 held a naming ceremony for a large new US military base on Guam built with US and Japanese funding to relocate thousands of Marines currently based in Okinawa. Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoshikawa attended and said that the Japan-US alliance is the cornerstone of peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region. The base on Guam, now known as Camp Blaz, is named for the late USMC Brig. Gen. Vincente “Ben” Blaz, a native of the island who also served as the territory’s representative in Congress. The base is still under construction but is currently home to 39 Marines and 110 civilians with the rest of the 5,000 Marines set to begin arriving in 2024.
  • According to a poll conducted by Nikkei Research, a greater portion of the Japanese public wants a larger role for Japan in the US-Japan security alliance for the first time. Conducted in late 2022, the poll shows the effect that Russia’s war and regional security threats have had on the country. Of more than 1600 people surveyed, 49% were in favor of an expanded role in the alliance while 46% were against. This is compared to the 41% in favor while 53% were against when the question was first asked in 2020. Security concerns have moved to the forefront of people’s minds with around 90% of all respondents saying that they see China, North Korea and Russia as threats.
  • The US Marine Corps submitted plans to use Shimojishima Airport in Okinawa Prefecture for helicopter flight training on January 31, but later changed its plans due to opposition from the prefectural government. Shimoji Island airport has the longest landing strip in the southern Sakishima islands and was last utilized by the US military in 2006. Under the status-of-forces agreement, American military aircraft planes are permitted to use civilian airports, but local government pushback caused the Marines to shift its training support site to an airport on Miyako Island.

“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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