Japan-US statement to include energy ties

A Japan-US joint statement to be released at the close of the forthcoming summit meeting between Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and US President Barack Obama will include an accord on bilateral cooperation in energy-related fields, according to sources close to the prime minister.

During his four-day visit to the United States starting Sunday, Noda was scheduled to hold talks with Obama in Washington on Monday. Ahead of the talks, the Japanese and US governments have agreed to incorporate energy cooperation into the joint statement, the sources said Friday.

The statement will hammer out steps to increase bilateral cooperation toward such goals as expanding renewable energy sources and stable, safe supplies of nuclear energy.

The two governments aim to make energy cooperation a new pillar of the Japan-US alliance, in addition to the central areas of military and security cooperation, the sources said.

In the process of working-level arrangements for the Noda-Obama talks, the Japanese and US sides have agreed to have the forthcoming joint statement include bilateral cooperation in five major fields: security, global commons, the economy, energy and personnel exchanges.

Global commons refers to the Earth’s natural resources beyond national jurisdictions, such as the oceans, Earth’s atmosphere, cyberspace and outer space.

After the outbreak of the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant following the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, securing stable supplies of electricity has become an urgent task. The issue of restarting idled nuclear power plants remains unresolved.

In addition, concern is growing over turmoil in the world’s oil markets because of increasing tension involving Iran, the sources said.

The Japanese and US governments hope the inclusion of energy cooperation in the joint statement will beef up their energy security, they said.

One focus of attention regarding security in the joint statement will be the concept of “bilateral dynamic defense cooperation” aimed at bolstering joint Japan-US surveillance and reconnaissance activities, and timely and effective joint training between the Self-Defense Forces and US forces, the sources said.

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