Science and Technology

April 30, 2013
Dr. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Ichita Yamamoto, Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy, and Hakubun Shimomura, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology convened the twelfth Joint High-Level U.S.-Japan Committee (JHLC) meeting in Washington, DC, on April 30. Drawing on over twenty-five years of science cooperation under the U.S.-Japan Science and Technology Agreement, the JHLC provides a regular opportunity to exchange views on some of the most important science and technology endeavors in our countries, and to prioritize future collaboration.

The JHLC brought together representatives from a wide range of government agencies in both countries to discuss three key topics: research and researcher exchanges; risk communication and scientific analysis for policy decision-making; and leveraging science and technology for economic growth. Among the experts making presentations, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and Japan’s Cabinet Office discussed lessons learned in emergency management following Hurricane Sandy and the Great East Japan Earthquake. During the meeting, the U.S. Department of Energy and Japan’s MEXT signed an Implementing Arrangement on cooperation in research and development in energy and related fields.

At the JHLC, the United States and Japan reaffirmed the importance of human resource development and international research exchanges, and agreed to continue to enhance research cooperation and exchanges in science and technology. Both sides also endorsed several priority areas for continued research cooperation, including initiatives to enhance energy and natural resource research, develop supercomputing software, increase the use of big data to support disaster prevention and mitigation, and continue to work together to develop critical and advanced materials.

The JHLC participants also reaffirmed the benefit of industry-academia collaboration for innovation, and decided to explore possible cooperation through programs such as MEXT’s Center of Innovation Science and Technology based Radical Innovation (COI STREAM), MEXT’s Entrepreneurship Program, and the National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps (I-Corps).

The United States and Japan also agreed to continue to advance robust collaboration in science and technology-related fields, including exchanging views on possible future partnerships to promote the use of scientific knowledge in policy decision-making and exploring mechanisms to address common challenges in the Asia region.

Following the morning government-to-government meeting, the U.S. Department of State and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted an Open Forum to extend the U.S.-Japan discussion to include participants from universities, think tanks, and the private sector. JHLC Open Forum participants noted the important societal benefits that accrue from cross-sectoral exchanges and emphasized the importance of continuing these kinds of dialogues.

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