US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 3.1

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Publications US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 3.1

Download US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 3.1

Happy New Year Headlines:

  • “Japanuary” in DC, as multiple Japanese lawmakers and officials visit
  • US, Japan, South Korea hold first Indo-Pacific trilateral dialogue
  • Japanese semiconductor firm Renesas to acquire US Transphorm
  • Japan’s allies and partners provide aid following Ishikawa earthquake
  • US & Japan send delegations to Taiwan to meet president-elect Lai

Details:

  • Japanese officials arrived in Washington for “Japanuary,” named for the annual wave of visits by Japanese lawmakers and officials during a break between Diet sessions. On Capitol Hill, former PM Tarō Asō spoke about the state of democracy in the world, challenges to the rules-based international order, and how likeminded nations can effectively engage the Global South. Asō then met National Security Council coordinator for the Indo-Pacific (and nominated Deputy Secretary of State) Kurt Campbell on January 10. The pair discussed strengthening the US-Japan alliance, North Korean nuclear and missile development, and deepening trilateral relations with South Korea. Other visitors included Diet Members Nakasone, Ito, Nagashima, Yamashita, Horii (the last two hosted by Sasakawa USA), who met with members of the House and Senate, think tank scholars, and US officials from State and Defense Departments. North American Affairs Director General (MOFA) Arima also visited, as did Deputy DG for Policy (MOD) Ando, among others.
  • Officials from the US, Japan, and South Korea met in Washington for the inaugural trilateral Indo-Pacific dialogue on January 5. US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Kritenbrink, Japanese Dep. Minister/Dir. General Yasuhiro Kobe, and ROK Deputy Minister Chung Byung-won fulfilled this pledge made at the Camp David summit in August. The three covered engaging Southeast Asian countries, strengthening economic ties, and deepening trilateral cooperation to bolster regional security. In response, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said on January 8 that “We firmly oppose relevant countries’ attempt to cobble together exclusionary groupings in the name of cooperation,” despite China joining in a trilateral foreign ministers meeting with Japan and South Korea six weeks earlier.
  • Japanese chipmaker Renesas announced a $339 million acquisition of US power semiconductor company Transphorm on Jan 11. The deal gives Renesas more access to advanced gallium nitride chips, which have higher thermal conductivity and better heat dissipation with less power loss of conventional chips, extending the range of electric vehicles. Transphorm is based in California. Renesas (formed by parts of Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric in 2003) is the world’s 3rd-largest automotive semiconductor company and the largest microcontroller supplier.
  • The US along with other allies and partners sent millions of dollars in aid following the 7.6 earthquake in Ishikawa on New Year’s Day. President Biden said “Jill and I are praying for the people of Japan…As close Allies, the US and Japan share a deep bond of friendship that unites our people.” US officials pledged support beyond its initial allocation of $100,000 in essential supplies through Peace Winds Japan and is providing some airlift support to Japanese authorities, who are mostly running an all-Japan response. Separately, a book containing hundreds of letters written by Japanese students to President Calvin Coolidge in the wake of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 recently surfaced. The letters expressed gratitude in the wake of tragedy as 69% of the ¥22m raised for disaster relief came from the US.
  • The US and Japan both sent delegations to Taipei to meet Taiwan’s President-elect Lai, who won the Jan 13 election.

“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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