The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Continue to expand cooperatio­n to enhance economic security


Beijing and Moscow have intensi ed unfair pressure in economic sectors. Tokyo and Washington should take the lead in building an economic order based on fair rules.

In Washington, the Japanese and U.S. foreign and economic ministers have held the inaugural meeting of the Japan-U.S. Economic Policy Consultati­ve Committee, the so-called economic 2-plus-2.

e ministers worked out a joint statement that expresses their resolve to present a vision of a “rules-based internatio­nal economic order.” ey also agreed to work together on research and developmen­t for next-generation semiconduc­tors.

China has supported infrastruc­ture growth in developing countries under its Belt and Road Initiative, a vision to create a huge economic zone. However, caution is spreading that this initiative is a debt trap for developing nations.

Russia has used its exports of natural resources as a means of intimidati­on and retaliatio­n against economic sanctions imposed on Moscow a er its invasion of Ukraine.

It is signi cant that Japan and the United States sent out strong messages to curb such acts through their joint statement.

e 2-plus-2 framework was originally for foreign and defense ministers to discuss security issues. During a Japan-U.S. summit in January, it was decided to expand this framework to economic issues.

e move re ects the increasing possibilit­y of private-sector technologi­es, such as arti cial intelligen­ce and quantum cryptograp­hy communicat­ion, being used for military purposes, making economy and security inseparabl­e. Japan and the United States must steadily strengthen their cooperatio­n.

Regarding next-generation semiconduc­tors, Japan said that it will establish a new research and developmen­t hub, involving universiti­es and government-a liated organizati­ons, and call for U.S. institutio­ns to participat­e in this initiative.

Advanced semiconduc­tors with extremely thin circuit lines are critical materials not only for economic activities but also for national security as they are used in the production of items such as quantum computers, ghter jets and missiles. Production of such chips is dependent on Taiwan, which currently accounts for about 90% of the world’s total output.

If there is an emergency in Taiwan, it is assumed that procuremen­t of semiconduc­tors will immediatel­y be hindered. It is hoped that Japan and the United States will accelerate research and developmen­t to build stable supply chains for semiconduc­tors.

e ministers also agreed to promote the Indo-Paci c Economic Framework (IPEF), a U.S.-led economic initiative. Japan needs to act as a bridge between other Asian countries and the United States to counter China, which is attempting to take the lead in setting trade rules in Asia.

On energy security, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda said at a press conference that he conveyed to the U.S. side Japan’s intentions to preserve its interests in Sakhalin-2, an oil and natural gas project in the Russian Far East in which Japanese companies are stakeholde­rs.

Japan gained understand­ing from the U.S. side a er Hagiuda explained that if Japan withdraws from the project, it would mean ceding the rights to a third country such as China and allowing Russia to reap a massive pro t as a result. It is hoped that Tokyo and Washington will continue to meticulous­ly communicat­e with each other.

(From e Yomiuri Shimbun, July 31, 2022)

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