U.S.-Japan economic "two-plus-two" ministerial talks set for July 29

The United States and Japan will hold their first economic "two-plus-two" dialogue involving their foreign and industry ministers on July 29 in Washington, a U.S. Commerce Department official said Wednesday.

The launch of the framework was agreed upon by U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida when they held a virtual meeting in January. Its focus will be on enhancing economic security, such as through developing resilient supply chains for key items like semiconductors, amid China's growing economic clout.

The meeting is timely in that both countries are "grappling right now with the reality that economic security is national security," Pamela Phan, deputy assistant secretary for Asia at the Commerce Department, told a think tank event in the U.S. capital, touching on supply chain disruptions that have stemmed from the coronavirus pandemic and Russia's war in Ukraine.

Phan said Japan's recently enacted law for enhancing economic security reflects a recognition that the Asian country is facing "economic vulnerabilities" which "have become more apparent" in the face of an assertive China, as well as increasing competition in the Indo-Pacific region and an uncertain global environment.

The upcoming meeting, officially called the U.S.-Japan Economic Policy Consultative Committee, can be used to "start figuring out solutions for promoting economic growth and addressing threats to the global economic order and enhancing economic security and resilience," she added.

The meeting is expected to be joined by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda.

© Kyodo News