By Aldgra Fredly
Japan and the United States agreed Wednesday to deepen cooperation in semiconductor supply chains and energy security amid the global supply constraints fueled by the ongoing Russia–Ukraine war.
Japan’s Industry Minister Hagiuda Koichi met with U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in Washington on Wednesday to discuss Japan–U.S. partnership in semiconductors, export controls, digital economy, as well as trade and investment.
In a joint statement (pdf), the two officials said they would strengthen cooperation in diversifying semiconductor production capacity, increasing transparency, coordinating emergency response to shortages, and promoting workforce development.
Raimondo expressed her gratitude to Japan “for their continued support and feedback that will help advance the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF),” according to a Commerce Department press release.
“We welcome greater U.S. economic involvement in the Indo-Pacific,” Hagiuda said, Nikkei Asia reported. “We want to contribute to making the IPEF a reality.”
The framework was part of the Biden administration’s regional engagement initiative announced in October last year to push back against China’s growing economic influence.
Meanwhile, Hagiuda also met with U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and emphasized the need to maintain energy security amid Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
They stated in a joint statement that U.S.-produced liquified natural gas (LNG) played a “significant role” in alleviating global supply constraints.
It stated that the two nations aim to develop “cutting-edge clean energy solutions” and work closely in various international frameworks “to promote the realization of a net-zero economy and the assurance of global energy security.”
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has previously said that Japan won’t pull out from the Sakhalin-2 LNG project in the Russian Far East, citing its critical role in Japan’s energy security, though he expressed intention to increase efforts to reduce reliance on Russian energy.
Russia is Japan’s fifth-largest LNG supplier, accounting for about 8 percent of the country’s consumption. The Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project in the Russian Far East was one of Japan’s main LNG supply sources, with an annual capacity of 9.6 million tons.
Japan’s Mitsui and Mitsubishi hold 12.5 and 10.5 percent stakes in the Sakhalin-2 project, respectively, while Russia’s state-run Gazprom PJSC owns 50 percent. Shell, which holds a 27.5 percent stake, exited the project in response to the war in Ukraine.
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