US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 3.5

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Publications US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 3.5

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Headlines:


Image Source: Reuters

  • Pres Biden voices opposition to Nippon Steel’s purchase of US Steel
  • Ban on Osprey flights lifted by DOD in consultation with Tokyo
  • US Navy Secretary promotes “new maritime statecraft” in Japan
  • Allied joint statement from US-Japan Dialogue on Digital Economy
  • US-Japan Strategic Dialogue on Democratic Resilience held in DC

Details:

  • Weighing in on Japanese-owned Nippon Steel’s planned $14 billion acquisition of US Steel Corporation, US President Biden said on March 14 that “it is vital for it to remain an American steel company that is domestically owned and operated.” The statement is an unusual comment by a US president about a private transaction under review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), but it is driven by competition for votes in a battleground state for the US presidential election. The US Steelworkers union has voiced opposition to Nippon Steel’s bid, and Biden’s opponent, Donald Trump, has already vowed to block the deal. Nippon Steel executives met with United Steelworkers representatives on March 7, but it is still early in their dialogue and no progress was reported.
  • The Pentagon announced on March 2 that it will lift its ban on Osprey aircraft flights 3 months after it grounded the aircraft following a crash of a CV-22 Osprey near Yakushima island on Nov 29 that cost the lives of 8 US airmen. DOD officials said they identified the cause of the mechanical failure in February, but are unable to disclose it publicly. Defense Minister Kihara and Defense Secretary Austin spoke on March 13 about their cooperative efforts to verify safety measures, maintain transparency with the public, and closely monitor future flights of the aircraft. Japan’s Ground Self Defense Force plans to deploy 17 Ospreys at Kyushu’s Saga Airport as part of their island defense strategy.
  • US Navy Secretary Del Toro toured shipyards in Japan and South Korea late Feb/early March, including Mitsubishi’s shipyard in Yokohama and discussed efforts to revive the US maritime industry with Japanese shipbuilding executives. According to the US Naval Institute, China commands almost 50% of the global shipbuilding market, with South Korea and Japan following at nearly 30% and 17%, respectively. US capacity is only 0.13%. Collaborative investment could strengthen the US industry, and the US is also exploring ways to service its forward deployed ships in Asia at Japanese shipyards. Del Toro also paid a courtesy call on Defense Minister Kihara.
  • In a joint statement from the 14th US-Japan Dialogue on Digital Economy, the US and Japan reaffirmed their commitment to open, interoperable, and secure digital connectivity to support the growth of the digital economy in a hybrid meeting on Feb 6-7. Discussions included private sector representatives from both countries who covered several topics from secure fifth generation (5G) wireless technologies and public-private partnerships to coordination on AI and cybersecurity. Both governments received joint statements by Keidanren and the US Chamber of Commerce.
  • Japan’s Dep. Min. for Foreign Policy Mr. Yasuhiro Kobe and US Undersecretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Ms. Uzra Zeya met in DC on March 8 for the second US-Japan Strategic Dialogue on Democratic Resilience. Dialogue centered around building democratic resilience globally and at home through women’s economic empowerment, advancing marginalized communities such as persons with disabilities, and other measures. They also discussed bolstering their international collaboration with the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council.

“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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