Last updated Friday 9 June, 2000 10:34 hrs EST

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May 2, 1966, Washington DC

The U.S.-Japan Joint High Level Committee (JHLC) met at the Pan American Health Organization in Washington, DC on May 2, 1996. Dr. John H. Gibbons, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, led the U.S. delegation and Mr. Hidenao Nakagawa, Minister of State for Science and Technology, led the delegation from Japan.

This meeting was the sixth ministerial-level meeting to discuss matters of importance and policy issues related to science and technology, and included participation of the principal science and technology agencies from the Untied States and Japan. The participants discussed recent science and technology- related developments in both countries and confirmed their willingness to further strengthen cooperation in key areas.

Areas of the bilateral science and technology relationship that were discussed included global environment, natural disaster reduction, space, agriculture, human resource development and exchange, biomedicine and life sciences, civil industrial technologies, energy and the environment, and the global information infrastructure. Both sides also discussed the synergies between cooperative activities in science and technology and the U.S.-Japan Common Agenda.

The JHLC also discussed the recommendations of the Joint High Level Advisory Panel (JHLAP), co-chaired by Norman Neureiter, Vice President of Texas Instruments Asia, for the United States, and Prof. Wataru Mori, Executive Member of the Council for Science and Technology, for Japan. Both sides applauded JHLAP's thoughtful consideration of opportunities for strengthening our bilateral relations in science and technology. The JHLAP noted the importance of basic research and researcher exchange to advancing the international pool of knowledge, the growing influence of private sector high technology alliances in the overall U.S.-Japan S&T relationship, the interaction between S&T cooperation and other policy issues, the need for joint discussions and planning early in the development of large-scale cooperative science projects, the value of cooperating in the development of a global information infrastructure, and the need for a reassessment of the project administration under the S&T agreement.

Both sides expressed their support of a new Earthquake Disaster Mitigation Partnership through which cooperation in science and technology will enhance our ability to reduce the damage to communities caused by earthquakes. The priority themes for cooperation include quantifying the potential of future earthquakes; strengthening our ability to estimate losses; testing basic theories of the earthquake source; understanding near source motions, geological effects and structural response; reducing the seismic risks posed by steel buildings; strengthening evaluation and retrofit of existing buildings and infrastructure; developing performance-based design methods; improving real-time seismic information systems; and better controlling post-earthquake fires. Both sides also concurred that the enhancement of systems for natural disaster reduction, such as the Pan Pacific Disaster Watch Network, should be promoted. With regard to the International Arctic Research Center both sides agreed to discuss the concrete concepts of cooperation.

he two sides noted the successful collaboration that is underway to better protect the earth's environment and improve our understanding of the earth system through initiatives such as the Global Observation Information Network, the Integrated Global Observing Strategy, and the coral reefs initiative.

Both sides reaffirmed the importance of collaboration in space science and the significance of continued support of the International Space Station. Both sides also noted the importance of close communication and coordination regarding Global Positioning System policy.

Regarding agricultural science and technology, both sides noted the importance of research collaboration in the fields of sustainable agriculture, global food supply and demand, and food science. Both sides agreed on further exchanges of agricultural scientists and the need to understand the agricultural research systems in both countries. Both sides also discussed research cooperation on mad cow disease.

In the area of human resource development and exchange, both sides noted the need to encourage young people to take a deeper interest in science and technology. Both sides also noted the need to continue promoting bilateral science and technology exchanges, in particular exchanges of young researchers, noting Japan's increased contributions to exchanges in the past year and recognizing that this is a long-term challenge.

Both sides noted the progress made in cooperation in civil industrial technologies and the success of the Intelligent Manufacturing System program. Both sides noted the significant advances being made in machine translation capabilities and confirmed their support of the Machine Translation Center for Japanese Science and Technology Literature at the U.S. Department of Commerce which employs translation software developed in Japan. The close connection between trade and technological cooperation was noted as was the importance of enhancing access to scientific and technical information, especially the results from bilateral projects.

The two sides noted the successful history of cooperation in biomedicine and the life sciences and noted the value of the U.S.-Japan Cooperative Medical Science Program. In particular, the two sides noted the value of the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) taking into consideration the hope expressed by the Board of Trustees of the HFSP that this program be included in the agenda of the G-7. Both sides also recognized the importance of working together in the emerging and re-emerging infectious disease area, under the framework of the U.S.-Japan Common Agenda.

In energy and the environment, both sides noted the growing importance of collaboration in these areas to meet the global challenges of the future. It was noted that a substantial history of cooperative activities has developed between our countries, crossing a wide range of technologies in energy efficiency and energy conversion. Both sides recognized that continued development of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor was important and that strategies for supporting its continued development would be explored.

The two sides concurred that there were many areas of synergy and potential synergy between cooperation in science and technology and the Common Agenda. Both sides decided to continue examining ways of enhancing the complementarity between Common Agenda activities and cooperative S&T activities.

Both sides confirmed the need to facilitate the development and use of research information networks, noting the great progress that has occurred internationally this year. It was noted that in the rapidly advancing environment of electronic communications, machine translation possesses substantial promise for facilitating communication between U.S. and Japanese scientists and engineers. Both sides reaffirmed the importance of the Global Information Infrastructure Initiative.

Finally, both sides decided to begin discussion regarding the renewal of the bilateral Science and Technology Agreement which is due to expire in 1998, with the goal of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of U.S.-Japan cooperation. Both sides also decided to consider the proposal for consolidating the timing of the Working Level and High Level Committee meetings, and it was agreed that the High Level Committee would convene again in about one year. [end]


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