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US and Japan Deepen S&T Collaborations During State Visit

APR 16, 2024
Space, fusion energy, AI, quantum technology, and semiconductors were among the topics of discussion.
lindsay-mckenzie-2.jpg
Science Policy Reporter, FYI American Institute of Physics
NASA and Japan Rover

A model of a lunar rover that Japan will build and operate as part of an expanded collaboration with the U.S. announced on April 10.

(Bill Ingalls / NASA)

The U.S. and Japan announced new plans for cooperation on a range of issues, including in science and technology, during Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to the White House last week. The initiatives were detailed in a joint statement by Kishida and President Joe Biden and in an accompanying fact sheet.

Among them, the countries signed a lunar exploration agreement through which Japan plans to build and operate a pressurized lunar rover while the U.S. pledged to reserve two spots for Japanese astronauts on future Artemis missions, with one potentially becoming the first non-American to land on the Moon. The countries also signed a partnership agreement that aims to accelerate the commercialization of fusion energy through complementary research programs, facilities development, and regulatory standards.

The partnership will build on existing research and exchange programs as well as the Biden administration’s recent strategy for promoting new partnerships in fusion. The two countries also reiterated their commitment to reducing the use of highly enriched uranium in civilian applications and welcomed news that HEU has been successfully removed from the Japan Materials Testing Reactor Critical Assembly.

AI, quantum science, and semiconductors were also major topics of discussion, with coordination plans announced for quantum technology standardization and supply chains, a shared R&D roadmap and workforce development program for semiconductors, and shared standards for the responsible development of AI, among other initiatives. Japan and the U.S. also signed a memorandum of understanding on global innovation, committing to deepen ties between entrepreneurs and expand technology investment opportunities.

This news brief originally appeared in FYI’s newsletter for the week of April 15.

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