U.S.-Japan: Past, Present, and Future Energy

Posted by Julia Nesheiwat
January 9, 2014
Secretary Kerry Shakes Hands With Japan’s Foreign Minister Kishida

In 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower stood next to Japan's Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi to celebrate the signing of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, and said our two nations were creating “an indestructible partnership” based on “equality and mutual understanding.”

Over the last five decades, the U.S.-Japan alliance has grown and flourished, with two of the world’s largest economies building a foundation for engagement on security, economic and energy prosperity, and tackling 21st century global challenges.  The strong history between our two nations has been an anchor of stability in Asia.

In November 2009, we launched the U.S.-Japan Clean Energy Action Plan, committing both nations to strengthen cooperation in basic science, carbon capture and storage, energy efficiency and smart-grid technologies, renewable technologies, and nuclear energy.  In December 2013, representatives from the U.S. Departments of State and Energy, and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry held the fifth U.S.-Japan Clean Energy Policy Dialogue in Livermore, California.  At the meeting, officials discussed the ideal state of future U.S.-Japan cooperation on clean energy, progress made to date -- including the Okinawa-Hawaii Partnership on Clean and Efficient Energy Development and Deployment, and the Tohoku Green Community Alliance -- and the current situation of the LNG market.

Building on our history of close collaboration on energy policy, I had the privilege of attending the recent International Energy Symposium in Tokyo last month, organized by the International Petroleum Exploration Corporation, the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ), and the University of Tokyo.  At the symposium, I spoke about the geopolitical impact of the global shale-gas revolution (brought on by the increase of U.S. natural gas production), on ways the United States is using energy more wisely through energy efficiency, and about the global shift in energy demand toward Asia.  I was honored to be joined by fellow panelists at the symposium Nobuo Tanaka, former Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA); Dr. Ken Koyama, chief economist at IEEJ; and Amos Bromhead, senior energy analyst at the IEA.

The United States and Japan work closely together on across-the-board energy issues, such as nuclear energy, climate change, natural gas, renewables and other clean energy technologies, and disaster recovery and reconstruction efforts.

The United States and Japan are working together on post-disaster recovery to build communities that are strong, sustainable, and resilient through bilateral delegations supporting recovery from the 2007 tornadoes in Greensburg, Kansas, to the areas affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, to the recent typhoon destruction in the Philippines.  This is a subject I personally engage on closely, through research and collaboration on post-disaster green reconstruction at Tokyo’s Institute of Technology.

You can learn more about how the United States and Japan are collaborating on post-disaster recovery, coming back stronger and more efficient in Secretary Kerry’s remarks at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in April 2013.

As world energy markets continue to change rapidly with increased demand from Asian economies, it will be critical to lead the clean energy revolution with our partner, Japan -- a nation known for its commitment to democracy, innovation, entrepreneurship, and technological expertise.  This longstanding bond, and the U.S.-Japan alliance, is a cornerstone of the rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region.  I am inspired by the good will and similarities both the United States and Japan can put forth while engaged in such a robust exchange of ideas.  We must continue to work closely together as both nations have a significant role to play in the world -- including economics, investment, trade, and quality of life.

As the songwriter Yoshiki Hayashi has said: “The past can be changed by the future.”  過去は未来によって変えられる。

About the Author: Julia Nesheiwat serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Implementation in the Bureau of Energy Resources.


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