Science and Technology

May 23, 2023

On May 16, the 15th Japan-U.S. Joint High-level Committee (JHLC) Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation was held in Tokyo hosted by H.E. Ms. TAKAICHI Sanae, Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy, H.E. Ms. NAGAOKA Keiko, Minister of Education Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and The Hon. Dr. Arati Prabhakar, Assistant to the U.S. President for Science and Technology, and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The JHLC Meeting was established according to the Agreement between Japan and the U.S. on Cooperation in Research and Development in Science and Technology that came into effect in 1988 and has been working as a platform for exchanging opinions on important matters for both countries in the field of Science and Technology, and exploring corporation activities. The meeting took place shortly after the G7 Science and Technology Ministers’ meeting in Sendai on 12-14 May, and was timely given the growing momentum to promote cooperation among like-minded countries.

A number of representatives both from Japanese and U.S. governments participated in the JHLC Meeting, and they discussed topics such as science and technology policies, the strategic cooperation areas for science and technology as well as innovations in each country, after a report by the joint working-level committee established to support the activities of the joint high-level committee at technology and management levels. The U.S. institutions participated in this joint high-level committee included the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Department of State (DoS), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Energy (DoE), and the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Tokyo. The Japanese institutions participated included the Cabinet Office (CAO), Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

On the topic of science and technology policies in Japan and U.S., the related parties shared the direction and challenges of science and technology policies of each country and then discussed challenges for promoting innovation in each country and a possibility of future collaborations between the two countries. From the Japanese side, the CAO reported the establishment of the 10-trillion-yen University Endowment Fund and a framework called a ”Global Startup Campus”, as priorities of science and technology policies of Japan . The MEXT introduced a research collaboration program including an Adopting Sustainable Partnerships for an Innovative Research Ecosystem (ASPIRE) Program. From the U.S. side, the OSTP explained an overview of science and technology policies with high priorities in the U.S.

As a strategic area of collaboration on science, technology and innovation, the JHLC Meeting focused on the following three areas; “Data science, Quantum technology, and AI”, “Climate change and Technology”, and “Biotechnology and Bio-manufacturing.” On the topic of the “Data science, Quantum technology and AI”, the CAO, together with the NIST and the DOS exchanged views about ‘’Strategy of Quantum Future Industry Development’’ decided by the Japanese government in April this year, and U.S. efforts on data, quantum, AI system, and machine learning, while keeping a possibility in mind for future bilateral collaborations.

In addition, the CAO, the MEXT, the NOAA and the DoE shared the challenges in the areas of climate change as well as science and technology in each country, and discussed the strategies for accelerating technologies to tackle global challenges including a Japan’s fusion energy innovation strategy decided in April this year. Furthermore, the JHLC Meeting recognized the importance of ocean and polar research utilizing both observation and modeling in order to support an economic growth in compatible with the sustainable environment and confirmed the continuation of bilateral collaboration on the ocean observation and polar research.

The JHLC Meeting also discussed the international collaboration and opportunities for innovation in biotechnology and advanced medicine, such as research and development in medicine and life science, activities of building a role model for sharing biological data, sharing such data in actuality, and establishing needs for such sharing, and the collaboration program between Japan and the U.S. such as cancer moonshot program and research collaboration on infectious disease. In addition, the METI and MEXT and the DOS exchanged their efforts of bio-manufacturing and discussed with each other.

As Prime Minister Kishida and President Biden recognized during their January meeting, Japan and the United States have deepened cooperation on critical and emerging technologies that are crucial for national security. Strong partnership in science and technology cooperation including vibrant people-to-people exchange is critical to advancing both countries’ economic aims and reflects both countries’ pivotal role as global leaders. Japan and the United States prioritize research and development that benefits citizens and is rooted in a shared commitment to foundational scientific values and principles, including openness, transparency, honesty, equity, fair competition, objectivity, and democratic values. The JHLC Meeting reaffirmed both countries’ commitment to continue close partnership and coordination on science and technology cooperation.

In parallel to holding of the JHLC Meeting, several side events were held including a workshop relating to the international joint research program by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), and visits to Headquarters in Tsukuba of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) and the Naka Fusion Institute of the National Institutes for Quantum Science and Technology. During those activities, there were discussions on the international talent mobility and circulation and latest trends in the R&D activities on emerging technologies.

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