Fact Sheet on New Initiatives
Today, on the occasion of their meeting at the Yokohama APEC Economic Leaders Meeting, President Obama and Prime Minister Kan launched the following new initiatives.
- The Energy-Smart Communities Initiative (ESCI) to support the energy-efficient buildings, transport, and electric power grids that will underpin sustainable development and long-term job creation for the Asia-Pacific region. Energy-Smart Communities are crucial for improving energy security, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and expanding employment. This initiative led by the United States and Japan establishes a comprehensive package of projects for clean energy technologies, and will be open to other APEC economies' participation. This initiative builds on the Clean Energy Action Plan agreed by the United States and Japan in November 2009.
- U.S.-Japan Clean Energy Policy Dialogue This bilateral policy dialogue, led by the U.S. Department of Energy and Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry at the senior official level, will bring together U.S. and Japanese experts to discuss policies on the development and deployment of clean energy technologies, including electric vehicles, transformative energy, peaceful nuclear energy, Hawaii-Okinawa cooperation and rare earth elements. This initiative also builds on the Clean Energy Action Plan agreed by the United States and Japan in November 2009.
- The U.S.-Japan Economic Harmonization Initiative; the U.S.-Japan Dialogue to Promote Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Job Creation; and the U.S.-Japan Policy Cooperation Dialogue on the Internet Economy. These three economic policy dialogues are intended to further strengthen economic ties between the United States and Japan. The Economic Harmonization Initiative aims to contribute to our economic growth by promoting cooperation to harmonize approaches that facilitate trade, address business climate and individual issues, and advance coordination on regional issues of common interest. The Dialogue to Promote Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Job Creation, and the Policy Cooperation Dialogue on the Internet Economy, are policy-level dialogues intended to deepen bilateral policy coordination and lay the groundwork for greater U.S.-Japan cooperation in international fora.
The U.S.-Japan Nuclear Security Working Group responsible for identifying and coordinating tangible outcomes for the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, including by promoting robust security for nuclear materials at civilian nuclear facilities and during transportation. Cooperative efforts will include joint activities in the fields of nuclear forensics, nuclear material detection and measurement, and the development of expertise on nuclear security, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region where nuclear power utilization is expected to increase. Japan’s decision to establish an Integrated Support Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security will be key in this regard. In connection with the establishment of this Working Group, and recognizing the serious dangers posed by nuclear terrorism, the United States and Japan reaffirmed the goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear material within four years.
- In addition, the U.S.-Japan Open Skies Agreement, liberalizing air travel between the U.S. and Japan, enters into force today. This agreement ends restrictions on which U.S. and Japanese airlines can service each other’s airports, removes restrictions on aircraft size, capacity and pricing, and opens all destinations in both countries for service. The new Agreement will improve scheduling, services and prices for passenger and cargo aviation between the United States and Japan, benefiting U.S.-Japan travel, tourism and commerce. Japan is currently the fourth largest international passenger gateway to the United States, and the third largest cargo gateway, while the United States is the largest passenger and cargo gateway to Japan.