Japan-U.S. Economic 2+2 dialogue to boost cooperation in protecting advanced technologies

AP, Yomiuri Shimbun photos
From left: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi

WASHINGTON — Japan and the United States will discuss ways to drastically reinforce bilateral cooperation in economic security areas, including the protection of semiconductors and other advanced technologies, at their first ministerial-level “Economic 2+2” dialogue.

Officially called the Japan-U.S. Economic Policy Consultative Committee, the Economic 2+2 meeting is slated to be held on July 29 in Washington. The foreign and economic ministers of both countries are expected to agree on building an economic order in the Indo-Pacific region, with an eye on countering China and Russia.

According to the items drafted on an agenda obtained by The Yomiuri Shimbun, the main issues of discussion include ways to reinforce semiconductor supply chains. During a visit to the United States in May, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda confirmed with the U.S. side that the two countries would cooperate in strengthening the capability to produce microchips, as well as research and development. Building on that, the two sides are expected at the upcoming meeting to agree on reinforcing the stable procurement of next-generation, cutting-edge technology items.

Semiconductors have been in short supply amid the coronavirus pandemic, which is a reason behind soaring prices. Japan and the United States will deepen their partnership in dealing with the shortage.

During a teleconference in January, the leaders of both countries agreed on establishing the Economic 2+2 dialogue, with the main purpose being the expansion of the Japan-U.S. alliance to the economic sphere.

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Hagiuda will attend the meeting with their counterparts, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. Following the meeting, a document is expected to be jointly issued.

Both countries are expected to agree on promoting the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), a U.S.-led initiative creating an economic zone in the region. Also on the agenda is deepening collaboration in the development of infrastructure in third-party countries, which is meant to be a counterweight to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

In light of the development that the Economic Security Promotion Law was enacted in Japan in May, the two countries will also discuss ways to prevent the leaking of advanced technologies. They will also boost collaboration in tasks such as crafting rules on the stability of 5G — the fifth-generation technology standard for high-speed, broadband mobile communications networks — and other key infrastructures. Both sides will also increase cooperation in the procurement of batteries and important minerals to make them.

Regarding human rights infringements by countries, including China, an issue U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration considers problematic, Japan and the United States will discuss measures to boost export controls in a bid to prevent monitoring technology and the like from being misused.

Measures are being taken in the United States to ban, in principle, imports from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in China. Some Japanese companies were found to have violated the ban, causing trouble. Japan and the United States will also work to reduce the burdens on supply chains.

Also on the agenda are food problems and soaring energy prices, due in part to the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Japan and the United States will discuss ways to boost cooperation in food an energy security.