Science and Technology

July 20, 2016
On July 13th, 2016 in Washington, D.C., Dr. Jonathan Margolis, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science, Space, and Health, in the Bureau for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, and H.E. Takeshi Nakane, Ambassador for Science and Technology Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, co-chaired the 15th U.S.-Japan Joint Working-Level Committee (JWLC) Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation.
The JWLC brought together representatives from a wide range of government agencies in both countries.  They reviewed and noted recent developments on several topics taken up in the 13th Joint High-Level Committee (JHLC) meeting held on October 6th, 2015, and reached a common understanding to further develop their cooperation in the areas of Science Diplomacy, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Health Research, and Renewable Energy. 
The participants from both countries also exchanged their perspectives on a number of new topics for potential U.S.-Japan cooperation and identified several pioneering areas to be further discussed during the 14th JHLC meeting in 2017.   Following the opening remarks by both co-chairs, the Japanese side highlighted recent updates and topics in the field of science and technology, including the G7 Science and Technology Ministers' Meeting in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, the 5th Science and Technology Basic Plan, and an overview of STI activities and human resources exchanges.  The two sides discussed how we can work together to better use science and technology within our respective foreign ministries, especially when we are working with emerging and developing nations.  Data Science was discussed in detail, with an emphasis on Big Data and Artificial Intelligence.  The emerging and fast developing techniques for analysis of large data sets, future direction of the research in Artificial Intelligence and its application, and the societal issues surrounding the implementation and impact of Artificial Intelligence was discussed deeply.  The value of collaboration in advancing Open Access to scientific data was recognized.  A few key discussions took place between NIH and AMED, looking broadly at ways to work together,  where the U.S. requested Japanese participation in the cancer moonshot effort being led by Vice President Biden, the research domain criteria used by NIMH, and AMED presented the Brain/MINDS initiative. NSF and AMED also discussed collaboration in fundamental brain science, and NSF and NICT discussed efforts to develop a collaboration in computational neuroscience. There was an exchange of key ideas on new technologies and implementation of geothermal technologies as an energy source in both countries.

Following the JWLC meeting, the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, in collaboration with the U.S. State Department and the Embassy of Japan, hosted the Fourth Open Forum for Science and Technology on July 14th.  Held at the Harding Auditorium of the Elliott School, the Forum brought together senior representatives of academia, industry, and science and technology organizations from both countries to discuss the theme ''The Impact, Importance, and Benefits of Science and Technology in and on Society''.  Three panelists from each country highlighted numerous important and complex examples of how basic research becomes the important technologies we use every day for communication, transportation, information, and health care.  The forum recognized the necessity for continued effort in both the United States and Japan to continue to advance our robust collaboration on science, technology, and innovation.

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