Section 4. International Cooperation on Science and Technology


1. Science and Technology in General


In keeping with the improvement of Japan's economic power and the sophistication of its economic structure, the world is looking at Japan, namely its science and technological capabilities, with increasingly different eyes.

Negotiations to revise the Japan-U.S. Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology conducted from 1987 to 1988 should be singled out for special mention in that they straightforwardly showed changes in the eyes of the world with which to look at Japan. At the negotiations mentioned above, the United States made the correction of the inequities in bilateral scientific and technological exchanges the central negotiation theme. This shows the U.S. perception and fears that amid the emergence of some areas in which Japan has higher science and technology standards than the United States, U.S. industry, especially the high-tech sector, would be put at an increasingly disadvantageous position in competing with its Japanese counterpart, if the imbalance in exchanges is left as it is and the United States continues to allow Japan a free ride. As Toshiba Machine Co.'s violation of COCOM rules was unearthed just before the negotiations, the relationship between advanced science and technology and security was taken up as one of the themes for discussions at the negotiations. This also showed the U.S. perception that with its present level of science and technology, Japan is capable of producing a very important technology in terms of security.

Japan-U.S. science and technological relations are unique in nature in that Japan has unilaterally received science and technology from the United States throughout the postwar period, making it difficult to consider science and technological relations between Japan and other third countries in a similar context. But changes in the U.S. view on Japan is deemed certain to have an impact on the views of other major Western industrial countries before long. In response to changes in the world's perception of Japan. Japan is increasingly called upon to make due contributions from now on from the viewpoint of cooperating with other advanced countries.

Besides the Japan-U.S. negotiations stated above, the year 1987 merits special mention on the following two points in terms of Japan's international cooperation in the area of science and technology. First, negotiations on the agreement for the construction of a space station, which involves unprecedentedly large science and technology cooperation, made great progress after the energetic negotiations among the United States, European countries, Japan and Canada. Secondly, negotiations on the text of the Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resource Activities, which had continued among the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties since 1982, entered the homestretch.

All these issues were settled in 1988. The revised Japan-U.S. Agreement on Science and Technology was signed between Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita and U.S. President Ronald Reagan at the bilateral summit talks on June 20 on the occasion of the Toronto summit meeting of major industrial democracies and went into effect immediately. An agreement in principle was reached on the space station cooperation agreement around the same time, while the treaty on regulating mineral resources in the Antarctic was adopted in Wellington, New Zealand, on June 2.


(1) Bilateral Science and Technology Cooperation

(a) Japan-U.S. Cooperation

(i) Japan-U.S. cooperation has been implemented on the basis of the Japan-U.S. Agreement on Cooperation in Research and Development in Energy and Related Fields, which is commonly called the Japan-U.S. Energy Agreement, and the Japan-U.S. Agreement on Research and Development in Science and Technology, commonly called the Japan-U.S. Non-Energy Agreement. As stated above negotiations on the wholesale revision of the Japan-U.S. Non-Energy Agreement started in October 1987 and a broad agreement was reached at the end of March 1988 after a total of seven rounds of negotiations. After its wording was straightened out, the new Japan-U.S. Agreement on Research and Development in Science and Technology, commonly called the new Japan-U.S. Science and Technology Agreement, was signed by Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita and U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Toronto on June 20.

(ii) In contrast with relatively general, abstract and simple contents of the past Japan-U.S. Non-Energy Agreement, the new Japan-U.S. Science and Technology Agreement has fairly concrete and detailed contents and has roughly the following features:

a) In contrast with the old agreement, which provided for only the development of cooperation activities in the mutually agreed areas, the new agreement, taking into account the overall scientific and technological relations between the governments of the two countries, stipulates the principle of equitable contribution and benefits, the principle of comparable access to research and other programs, etc. as the principles regulating the scientific and technological relations between the two governments.

b) In contrast with the old agreement, which had no provisions for major areas for cooperation activities, biotechnology, information science technology and advanced materials, including superconductors, and other areas are stipulated in the new agreement.

c) The new agreement calls for measures to be taken by the governments of the two countries for the strengthening of personal and information exchanges between the two countries.

d) The new agreement provides in detail for the distribution and other methods for patent applications concerning invention, etc. as a result of joint research.

(b) Cooperation with Other Countries

(i) Further progress was made in cooperation activities with France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Canada and Australia through the holding of meetings of the committees based on respective Science and Technology Agreements Japan has concluded with these countries. (In particular with Canada, an agreement was reached at the bilateral summit meeting in January 1988 to commission joint studies on how best to proceed with science and technology cooperation between Japan and Canada to eminent scholars of the two countries.

(ii) A top-lovel agreement was reached with Italy to start negotiating the text of a science and technology agreement on the occasion of Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita's visit to Italy in May 1988. Negotiations with the EC on the Agreement for Cooperation in the field of Controlled Thermonuclear Fusion made substantial progress, with the two sides all but reaching virtual agreement on the matter.

Reference: The following are the countries with which Japan has concluded science and technology agreements: the United States, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Australia, Canada, China, Indonesia, Brazil, India, the Republic of Korea, the Soviet Union, Romania, the German Democratic Republic, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary and Yugoslavia.


(2) Multilateral Science and Technology Cooperation

(a) Conference on Life Science and Mankind

The fourth meeting of the Conference on Life Science and Mankind, originally proposed by Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, was held in Canada in April 1987 and the fifth meeting in Italy in April 1988.

(b) Human Frontier Science Program

This is the project designed to shed light on the functions of organisms (learning and memory functions of the brain, etc.), which Japan proposed at the Venice summit of major industrialized democracies in 1988. Since the political declaration at the Toronto Summit in 1988, Japan has been preparing proposals for the concrete implementation of the project.

(c) International Nuclear Fusion Joint Research Program

This is the joint project to formulate designs of an experimental nuclear fusion reactor among Japan, the United States, the EC and the Soviet Union under the auspices of the International Atomic energy Agency (IAEA). The project was launched on the basis of the proposal made at the U.S.-Soviet summit in 1985. Japan for its part notified the IAEA of its participation in the project in February from the viewpoints of the promotion of research on nuclear fusion and contributions to the international society through international cooperation.

(d) OECD

The OECD, led by its Science, Technology and Industry Directorate, has been studying science and technology issues. In 1987, a series of important meetings were held to consider the development of science and technology, and its socioeconomic impact, including a meeting of ministers in charge of science and technology in October and a high-level meeting of the Committee for Information, Computer and Communications Policy in December. At the ministerial meeting, a communique was adopted concerning the government strategy toward the contribution of science and technology to economic growth and social development, how best to conduct international cooperation in the area of science and technology as the guideline for the future.


2. Space-Related Matters


(1) Japan has participated in preliminary design work of a permanently manned space station program since April 1985 along with the European Space Agency (ESA) and Canada. For two years since June 1986, the countries taking part in the space station program (the United States, Japan, European countries and Canada) have carried out energetic consultations on an intergovernmental agreement on the cooperation in each stage of a detailed design, development, operation and utilization. As a result, an agreement in principle was reached in the summer of 1988 as stated above.

In March 1985, Japan exchanged official notes with the United States for the cooperation on First Material Processing Test (FMPT) program for various experiments in outer space conducted by a Japanese astronaut boarding a U.S. space shuttle in 1988. But the January 1986 shuttle explosion has delayed the implementation of the FMPT until April 1991.


(2) As for relations with Europe, Japan and the European Space Agency (ESA) held the 13th meeting of executive officials in Paris in June 1988.


(3) The 42nd U.N. General Assembly session approved a report submitted by the 30th session (June) of the U.N. Commission on the Peaceful Use of Outer Space and adopted a resolution titl                                                                                                     ed "International Cooperation Regarding the Peaceful Use of Outer Space" (42/68).


3. Antarctic-Related Matters


(1) Meetings of countries concerned for the formulation of a legal regime regarding mineral resource activities in Antarctica were held in Montevideo, Uruguay, in May 1987, and in Wellington, New Zealand, twice in January and in May-June of 1988, resulting in the adoption of the convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Ministerial Resource Activities.

These meetings have been held twice a year over six years since June 1982, in which Japan actively participated as one of the original signatory nations to the Antarctic Treaty. Though difficulties were felt on the handling of matters concerning basic issues related to the Antarctic Treaty, such as territorial sovereignty and other issues, the adoption of this Convention will enable mineral resource activities under certain conditions under the supervision of an international committee.


(2) Also at the 42nd U.N. General Assembly in December 1987, the Antarctic problem was taken up as one of the agenda items and two resolutions were adopted concerning the request for inviting the U.N. Secretary-General to discussions on Antarctic pact-related matters, etc.


4. Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy


(1) International Cooperation on Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy

A fatal nuclear power plant accident at Chernobyl in the Soviet Union in April 1986 made the people around the world aware of the importance of nuclear safety and the need of international cooperation for the improved safety

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD/NEA), continued to play their role in 1987, in pursuit of the formulation of basic safety principles, revision of the nuclear power safety standards, improving the environment for the execution of the conventions on the early notification and assistance at the time of accidents, work on harmonizing the Vienna and Paris Conventions on the civil liability for nuclear damage, and assessment of the effect of radiation from the Chernobyl accident.

The Japanese Government accepted both notification and assistance conventions in June, upon obtaining approval of the Diet. In addition, it hosted the IAEA's Man-Machine Interface International Meeting held in Japan in February 1988. In this manner, Japan has been extending active cooperation in promoting the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Meanwhile, the United Nations held a meeting on the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy in Geneva from March 23 through April 10, but failed to come up with a unified conclusion.


(2) Improvement of International Environment Concerning Japan's Development and Use of Nuclear Power

As of the end of March 1988, 36 nuclear power reactors are operating in Japan, with the total generating capacity of about 28.05 million kW, or the fourth largest in the world behind the United States, France and the Soviet Union.

Against this background, Japan and the United States concluded a new agreement for cooperation concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy, which has established a new framework for long-term and stable cooperative relationship in the field of nuclear energy. The agreement, which entered into force in July 1988, will further promote Japan's peaceful uses of nuclear energy and contributions to nuclear non-proliferation.

Furthermore, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material adopted in Vienna in October 1979 as a framework for protecting nuclear material from potential dangers of unlawful taking and use, went into force in February 1987, with the ratification by 22 countries including the United States and the Soviet Union. The Japanese Government for its part obtained parliamentary approval for accession in May 1988.


(3) Cooperation with Developing Countries in the Field of Nuclear Energy

Japanese contributions to the IAEA's Technical Assistance and Cooperation Fund have been next only to those of the United States and the Soviet Union. Japan plays a leading role through technical and financial cooperation in such fields as isotope and radiation utilization, medical and biological utilization projects under the IAEA's Regional Cooperation Agreement on Research, Development and Training of Nuclear Science and Technology (RCA), in order to help developing countries address major challenges including industrial and medical problems. Moreover, Japan has been active in accepting trainees and dispatching experts for the utilization of isotope radiation through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Since the 1986 Chernobyl accident, developing countries have come to recognize the importance of safety issues in promoting nuclear power development and have increased safety-related projects. Therefore, it would be important for Japan, an advanced country in the nuclear field, to extend these cooperations with a view to meeting their real needs while paying due attention to nuclear safety and non-proliferation.



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