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In-Depth Research & Reports May 27, 2021

Enhancing US-Japan cooperation on global supply chains

By Miyeon Oh and James Hildebrand

Mounting US-China tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic have led to growing calls in the United States and among its allies and partners, including Japan, to address the vulnerabilities in global supply chains critical to national security and economic competitiveness. Strategic uncertainty has led stakeholders to pose the following questions. What role should government play, and to what extent can, or should, governments require firms to operate more in line with national security interests? How can firms manage short-term and long-term risks to balance national security requirements and commercial interests? How should trusted partners be defined, and what is a desirable allied and multilateral approach to enhancing security and resilience of global high-tech supply chains? With new administrations in both the United States and Japan, the two countries have an opportunity to consider these questions and rethink coordination of their efforts to establish secure and resilient supply chains.

This issue brief analyzes recent developments in US and Japanese supply-chain policy, explores the importance of closer coordination through case studies of the semiconductor and rare-earth minerals industries, and provides a set of recommendations for the Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Yoshihide Suga administrations to enhance US-Japan cooperation in the years ahead. These recommendations include actions to operationalize the April 2021 US-Japan Joint Leaders’ Statement by creating a bilateral interagency Supply Chain Steering Committee that includes sector-specific working groups to enhance public-private-partnerships in high-technology industries, and by expanding bilateral supply-chain cooperation into multilateral efforts through flexible and informal frameworks. 

Indo-Pacific Security Initiative

The Indo-Pacific Security Initiative works with US, allied, and partner governments and other key stakeholders to shape strategies and policies to mitigate the most important rising security challenges facing the region, including China’s growing threat to the international order and North Korea’s destabilizing nuclear weapons advancements. IPSI also addresses opportunities for cooperation in the region, such as transforming regional security architectures, harnessing emerging technologies, and developing new mechanisms for deterrence and defense cooperation.