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The U.S.-Japan Common Agenda: A Partnership for the 21st Century

Joint statement by the U.S. and Japanese Governments released during President Clinton's State Visit to Japan, April 17, 1996.

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The U.S.-Japan partnership, forged over the past 50 years, is critical to meeting the security, economic and global challenges of the 21st century. Our two countries share common values and a common vision for the next century of a secure, stable, and prosperous Pacific community and the world. This thriving partnership encompasses not only our economic and security concerns, but also a commitment to address emerging transnational issues.

To further cooperation on global issues, President Clinton and then-Prime Minister Miyazawa launched the Common Agenda for Cooperation in Global Perspective ("Common Agenda") in July 1993 as part of the U.S.-Japan Framework for a New Economic Partnership. Since its inception, the Common Agenda has emerged as one of the world's most successful partnerships in addressing critical global challenges in areas as diverse as health and population, environment, narcotic drugs trafficking, technology and economic development.

The Common Agenda has become a model of cooperation, enabling us to combine expertise and pool resources in addressing global issues. By working together, we can accomplish much more than we can alone.

Highlights of Existing Common Agenda Projects

Now approaching its third anniversary, the Common Agenda encompasses over twenty projects in five broad categories:

To promote "Health and Human Development," the Governments of the United States and Japan have helped virtually to eradicate polio in the Western Pacific, have made significant progress in Southeast Asia, and aim to expand the program to Africa. Our ultimate goal is to eradicate polio worldwide by the year 2000. We are helping to make vaccines more available to children in developing countries. We will explore cooperation on the control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders and support of micronutrient programs in developing countries. We are also working closely on the Population and HIV/AIDS Initiative in priority countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. In 1995, we added the "Women in Development" initiative in order to improve educational opportunities for girls and foster women's microenterprises in developing countries.

To respond to "Challenges to Global Stability," both Governments decided to join forces in 1994 to address international trafficking in narcotic drugs. This project includes cooperation on law enforcement, demand reduction, chemical controls and crop substitution programs.

To help protect the "Global Environment," both Governments with other international partners, galvanized world support in 1995 for the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), a program aimed at protecting and conserving these valuable marine resources. We have also helped develop ICRI regional strategies in support of global goals and are now collaborating to support the establishment of a coral reef conservation and research center in the Asia-Pacific region.

Both Governments have launched joint environmental conservation efforts in Indonesia and the Philippines. In Indonesia, we have jointly funded a biodiversity program. We are also working to protect nature reserves in several Central American and Caribbean countries through the Parks-in-Peril Program. The Pacific Ocean Observation and Research Initiative and the Global Observation Information Network are underway. We will soon collaborate on Arctic research. We are also conducting joint research and development of environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient technologies related to chlorofluorocarbons.

To advance "Science and Technology," we have decided to cooperate in the areas of civil and industrial technology; road technology, such as intelligent transport systems; and transportation technology, such as transit measures for the elderly and handicapped.

To foster "Exchanges for Mutual Understanding," U.S. engineers are now working side-by-side with their counterparts in Japanese factories exchanging ideas on future industrial manufacturing methods.

New Initiatives

Building on the current success of the Common Agenda, President Clinton and Prime Minister Hashimoto at the April 1996 Tokyo summit announced six new areas of cooperation:

Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases Initiative: Some diseases are resurging globally, surviving potent antibiotics and mutating into dangerous, new strains. This initiative aims to improve global efforts to prevent/control the spread of re- emerging diseases, such as tuberculosis, and emerging diseases. An initial meeting of experts from both countries will be held in July in Kyoto.

Natural Disaster Reduction Initiative: As two countries which frequently experience natural disasters, both Governments have decided to strengthen international networks for exchanging data on natural disaster early warning. We have also decided to initiate an earthquake mitigation partnership to accelerate scientific/technological advances in order to reduce damage to communities from earthquakes. Both Governments will hold an earthquake symposium in autumn 1996 to bring together scientists and government officials to improve preventive and rescue measures.

Civil Society and Democratization Initiative: Working together with host countries, both Governments will explore ways to coordinate assistance to recipients in areas such as election monitoring and the strengthening of judicial systems.

Counterterrorism Initiative: Recognizing that terrorism is a threat to the safety of citizens, the security of nations, and the prosperity of the international community, both Governments will strengthen cooperation in this area and bring ongoing bilateral cooperation on counterterrorism, including preparations for the P-8 experts meeting on biological and chemical terrorism, under the Common Agenda.

Global Food Supply Initiative: Both Governments recognize the critical problem posed by lack of reliable food supplies in countries facing hunger and malnutrition, and the importance of ensuring future global food supply capacity. We will consider collaboration in areas such as scientific/technological research to expand food production capacity and the promotion of sustainable agricultural development.

Educational Technology for the 21st Century Initiative: Education is the foundation for the well-being of society and technology will radically change the field of education. As the world's technological leaders, both Governments will explore ways of harnessing the potential of computers and other advanced technology for use in education.

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