Global Alliance: An Agenda for U.S.-Japan CooperationPaula J. Dobriansky, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs
Remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
October 23, 2008
Thank you, Mike, for organizing this conference on the fundamental and broad underpinnings of U.S.-Japanese collaboration. I have had the pleasure of working with Mike both in government and academia, and have great respect for his deep knowledge of Japan and his ceaseless commitment to strengthening the trans-Pacific partnership. Ambassador Fujisaki, Director-General Kitera, Vice Minister Yaichi, and Ambassador Sugiyama, thank you all for being here today.
This is a timely juncture for taking stock of the many fronts on which our two nations pursue a common global vision. At the root of our cooperation is a belief in our governments as forces for good; a forward-looking attitude that embraces change while respecting tradition; and a sense of moral responsibility and initiative to help others who have not yet achieved our level of freedom and prosperity.
As two of the world’s largest economies and preeminent democracies, the United States and Japan exercise transformational leadership. Our alliance really serves as a model for how cooperation and reconciliation can triumph over cultural and historical challenges to the benefit of both our nations and the world.
In addition to those areas that this conference will address, our practical cooperation extends to many global issues. These include combating pandemic diseases, promoting democratic values, and enhancing cooperation on science and technology, space exploration, and environmental protection.
Partners for Climate Change
I’d like to begin by addressing energy security and climate change, and by applauding Japan’s hosting of the Major Economies meeting and the G8 Summit in Toyako in June.
At the Major Economies leaders meeting, you had heads of the states accounting for 80 percent of the world’s economic output, energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions. By bringing them together, we were able to have a productive exchange on the tough issues that will be key to a new international framework to replace the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. That discussion was essential.
Critical groundwork was laid that will position us for the next UN Framework Convention on Climate Change talks, to be held in Poznan, Poland in December. Japan has been a key partner through the Major Economies process, which was launched by President Bush last September.
Japan has also been a leader in the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP), which brings together governments and industry to promote clean technology. Japan heads two of the key APP task forces – one on cleaner fossil energy, and one on steel.
The fossil energy taskforce has a “Methane to Markets Partnership Coal Subcommittee” which is developing country-specific strategies to deal with coal mine methane. The Steel Task Force has published the “State-of-the-Art Clean Technology Handbook”, with information on energy saving technologies and practices in the iron and steel industry. These are just a few examples of the vibrancy of Japan’s chairmanship, and key areas of our work.
On the U.S. side, Mike Green has been a driving force for developing the APP into a constructive, action-based platform, and I thank him for his efforts.
Clean technology is a lynchpin to achieving our goals on climate change. At Toyako, our respective nations pledged over $3 billion over the next three years towards a Clean Technology Fund. The energy efficiencies we strive to realize through cleaner technologies will power our drive for a cleaner planet without jeopardizing global economic prosperity. This has been an important area of cooperation.
Development in Africa and Beyond
Our shared values are also on display clearly on the continent of Africa. There, in recent years, we have both stepped up our respective commitments to offering hope for better lives, uplifted from poverty, disease and tyranny. Across the continent, Japan joins the United States in what President Bush called a “mission of mercy.”
Japan spends nearly a quarter of its Overseas Development Assistance in Africa, and, this past spring, pledged to double that assistance by 2012.
Japan’s generosity reinforces that of the United States, which saw a four-fold increase through the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR). Our commitment doesn’t end there. The majority of U.S. spending on global health is being directed towards Africa, where we are targeting malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases.
In Africa we share the belief that well-governed states that invest in their citizens hold the key to a brighter future. It is that belief, and our respective investments, that distinguish our involvement in Africa from that of other foreign nations which do not necessarily share the same goals.
As democracies, we believe that freedom and democratic governments are intrinsically valuable, but we also recognize that representative, transparent governance is directly related to the effectiveness of our assistance efforts. Japan, as an active leader in the G7, has taken a practical approach to strengthening financial governance through innovative mechanisms such as the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa (EPSA) initiative, in partnership with the African Development Bank.
Through our Millennium Challenge Corporation, the United States has pursued a complementary strategy of linking our assistance to performance, with 11 compacts signed in Africa, totaling $4.5 billion – nearly three-quarters of MCC assistance to date. Eight African nations have signed threshold agreements, with another two in the works.
It is not only in Africa that we commit our assistance for common aims. The United States, the UK, and Japan are significant contributors in Afghanistan. In fact, Japan is the third largest donor to Afghanistan, with over $2 billion provided in reconstruction assistance to date. This kind of assistance is having an important impact on reconstruction and civil society. We have seen significant strides in the rebirth of Afghanistan, but we know that many challenges remain – and that our shared commitment to the success of Afghanistan’s new democracy is for the long term.
Promoting Democracy and Good Governance
As the Bush Administration comes to a close, assessments and evaluations of the Freedom Agenda are inevitable. Our better practices evolve from experience – not just our own but that of our partners in this global challenge.
While America’s democracy is still relatively young, Japan’s is also a young democracy that serves as a beacon to many struggling new democracies today. We share the belief that the values that come with democracy are indeed universal, and the global community ultimately benefits from freedom’s advance. Thus, we seek to offer to others the lessons learned from our respective experiences.
Democratic transitions in Eastern Europe were eased by the existence of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Now, Japan has joined with us and taken a leadership role in the creation of the Asia Pacific Democracy Partnership (APDP).
The impetus for creating the APDP was a shared recognition between our governments of the need for a regional network in Asia focused on promoting democracy, human rights and good governance.
Japan’s leadership in the region has been vital in launching this initiative. In June of this year, Japan provided significant funding and observers to the APDP’s first electoral mission to Mongolia. We look forward to partnering with Japan to foster the growth of this alliance, and similar initiatives in Asia.
It is significant when Japan speaks out on issues of human rights and freedom in Asia. This is a further reflection of our shared commitment to these ideals.
Whether criticizing Burma’s military junta for its callous response to the needs of its people after Cyclone Nargis, calling for improved human rights in Tibet, training the new democratic government of East Timor, supporting uncensored broadcasting into North Korea, or taking action against the crime of trafficking in persons, Japan’s democratic leadership in Asia is a vital force that we hope will continue to grow.
A Panoply of Values-Based Collaboration
Japan’s commitment to democracy is rivaled only by its sophisticated and far-sighted approach to complex challenges, and there are many.
Two decades ago, the United States and Japan entered into a Science and Technology Agreement. The results of this cooperation, for both nations and for the global scientific community, have been enormous. For example, the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, which began as a joint U.S.-Japan initiative, now involves 21 other countries which have joined our effort to unlock some of the mysteries of the ocean floors.
Collaborative Earthquake Engineering Research, under Japan’s E-Defense program, is helping our nations better prepare for natural disaster.
Japan is home to the Yokohama-based International Tropical Timber Organization. This is a multi-lateral effort the U.S. joined to address illegal logging, govern the timber trade, and better manage natural resources.
Earlier this year, NASA launched into space two sections of Japan’s first manned facility for the International Space Station – an endeavor in which Japan is a key partner.
Our alliance with Japan has been a source of strength and support for the United States, as together we strive to attain shared goals and aspirations in the international arena. Japan’s leadership has been a consistent partner in the effort to forge a more stable global political architecture, and we are delighted that Japan now holds a two-year rotational seat on the expanded United Nations Security Council.
Japan has also been a stalwart supporter of free trade, and we look forward to seeing this positive influence reflected when Japan hosts the APEC forum meetings in 2010.
The United States will host APEC the following year, in 2011, offering us a unique opportunity to work together to reinforce our joint economic and political commitments in the Asia-Pacific region.
In the past half century, the United States and Japan have come far together. With common will, common vision and common values, the possibilities are limitless for what we can achieve in the future. I am very privileged to be here with you this afternoon to share these thoughts with you. The breadth and scale of our partnership is truly enormous.
Thank you, and I wish you a most productive conference.
Released on October 29, 2008