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No Bows to 'Traditional Energy' at Meeting of US-Japan Leaders

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May 02, 2012

No Bows to 'Traditional Energy' at Meeting of US-Japan Leaders

By Cheryl Kaften, TMCnet Contributor

At a White House meeting on April 30, both U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of Japan found themselves in “hot pursuit” of solutions to the global warming crisis.

In describing their summit, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the two world leaders affirmed their nations’ commitments “to cooperating on energy, including the development of clean and renewable energy sources,[ peaceful, safe, and secure uses of nuclear energy; and on energy security,” adding, “We share a mutual commitment to address the global impact of climate change.”

New Clean Energy (News - Alert) Initiatives 

The leaders launched the following new initiatives in the area of clean energy, to be administered under the U.S.-Japan Clean Energy Policy Dialogue:

·         Tohoku Green Communities Alliance: To support the reconstruction and recovery of areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011, the United States and Japan will, together, develop and deploy clean energy technologies and promote the building of green communities— in the Tohoku region, as well as more extensively within both nations.  In addition, the two nations will promote joint research and development (R&D) at institutions in the Tohoku region, and form government and industry partnerships to create and install community-scale microgrid systems.

·         New Cooperation in Clean Energy Innovation: Japan and the United States will support advances in biomass and enhanced geothermal systems, among other areas, through collaborative information-sharing and R&D between U.S. and Japanese research institutions. The two nations will expand existing joint projects in renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart grid technology, and people-to-people exchanges, under the cooperative initiative involving the State of Hawaii and Okinawa Prefecture.

·         Critical Materials Research and Development:  U.S. and Japanese researchers will work together on recycling rare earth elements; as well as on the production and use of rare earth elements and other critical materials, in order to promote improved understanding of market conditions and technology needs.  These efforts will promote diversity of supply, development of substitute materials, and improved recycling processes.

·         The 4th Clean Energy Policy Dialogue in Fukushima: Japan and the United States plan to hold the 4th Clean Energy Policy Dialogue in Fukushima Prefecture later this year, in order to formulate action plans to promote the cooperation above.

Among the other topics discussed during the meeting were nuclear cooperation, cybercrime, innovation and entrepreneurship, and cloud computing.

Building on the close U.S.-Japan cooperation that followed Japan’s the earthquake and ensuing nuclear accident—the two nations have agreed to establish a high-level Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Cooperation.  The commission will foster comprehensive strategic dialogue and joint activities related to the safe and secure implementation of civil nuclear energy; including procedures for accident response, such as decommissioning and decontamination. 

Noting over a decade of extensive partnership on information and communications technology (ICT) policy, Internet issues, and cybersecurity, and in honor of Japan’s intention to join the Convention on Cybercrime(to which the United States already is a party), both countries have agreed to deepen bilateral coordination on cyber issues. 

Recognizing the power of entrepreneurship to bring new technologies to market, the President and the Prime Minister endorsed the work plan of the newly-established U.S.-Japan Innovation and Entrepreneurship Council, comprising leading experts from both government and the private sector. The Council’s goal is to identify best practices, policy recommendations, and cooperative bilateral initiatives to encourage the creation of new businesses that generate growth and jobs in both economies. 

The leaders also endorsed the launch of a new Cloud Computing Working Group, in cooperation with the private sector; under the Internet Economy Dialogue, aimed at expanding online business opportunities and shaping global regulatory practices on emerging Internet technologies and cross-border data flows. 

Finally, as friendship blossomed between the two countries, so too did the 3,000 cherry trees in Washington, D.C.—a gift from Japan to the United States in 1912. U.S. President Obama President announced a reciprocal gift of 3,000 dogwood trees to Japan this year.  These dogwood trees are to be planted in Tokyo and throughout Japan, including in areas recovering from the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, as an enduring symbol of friendship.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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