Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room Washington, D.C.
U.S.-Japan Economic Policy Consultative Committee
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, good morning everyone. Ministers Hayashi, Hagiuda, Secretary Raimondo, it’s wonderful to welcome each of you here to the State Department. And Gina and I are delighted to welcome you to Washington for what is the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Japan Economic Policy Consultative Committee.
Earlier this year when President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida announced the creation of the EPCC – appropriately, “epic,” as we call it – this was a reflection of the strength of our two countries’ economic relationship and partnership, Japan’s and America’s leadership in the global economy, and the seriousness of the economic challenges facing our workers, our businesses, our people. As the world’s first and third largest economies, it is critical that we work together to defend a rules-based international economic order, one in which all countries can participate, compete, and prosper.
Recent events in the world – around the world prove how necessary this new gathering is. COVID-19 has revealed the vulnerability of critical supply chains. A growing number of countries struggle with debt burdens due to unsustainable and nontransparent lending practices. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, its blockade of the Port of Odessa has caused a spike in global food prices and fuel prices as well. The coercive and retaliatory economic practices of the People’s Republic of China force countries into choices that compromise their security, their intellectual property, their economic independence. These and other challenges call for our two countries to work together even more closely on economic matters. This has always been a key element of our bilateral relationship, and with EPCC we will make our cooperation in this arena even stronger.
The EPCC also complements the work of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which our two countries launched with 12 others in Tokyo this spring to create a stronger, fairer, more resilient economy across the entire Indo-Pacific. Our conversations today and in the weeks ahead – and by the way, in the weeks ahead will also be leading to Japan assuming the leadership of the G7, the United States APEC next year – but all of these conversations, including through EPCC, will address our shared priorities, including securing critical infrastructure, building better supply lines and supply chains, shaping emerging technologies so that they deliver opportunity without undermining our security or, for that matter, our values.
On these issues and more, we will advance our shared vision of a open, inclusive, sustainable economic growth rooted in the rules-based international order. Ultimately, our cooperation will help move us closer to a future in which trade and commerce support workers, create incomes, create opportunity where countries are secure from coercion and aggression, where people, ideas, goods, and capital move freely, where universal human rights are respected, and countries and people can forge their own paths. Japan and the United States both share that vision.
FOREIGN MINISTER HAYASHI: Thank you, Tony. (Off-mike.)
(Via interpreter) I would like to thank Secretary Blinken and Secretary Raimondo for hosting. Currently Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses a serious challenge to the international order, but we must never allow unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force.
(Via interpreter) It is a powerful indication of the close collaboration between Japan and the United States that the first ministerial meeting of the Japan-U.S. Economic Policy Consultative Committee, which the two leaders concurred to hold in July at the Japan-U.S. summit meeting in May, was realized as concurred. I would like to thank Secretary Blinken and Secretary Raimondo for hosting.
Currently, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine poses a serious challenge to the international order, but we must never allow unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force. At the same time, we are concerned that there are prominent attempts to use economic influence unfairly and opaquely to realize their strategic interest and to modify the existing international order. In order to effectively deal with this, it is essential to discuss foreign policy and economic policy as a unit, rather than discussing foreign policy and economic policy individually. It is also necessary to strongly disseminate such efforts by Japan and United States and lead the collaboration of the international community.
From that point of view, this economic 2+2 is a timely framework. In addition, it is important to promote multi-layered bilateral cooperation in terms of policies, institutions, and technological development, with a focus on the CoRe, or Competitiveness and Resilience Partnership, in order for Japan and the United States to maintain competitiveness and resilience in the ever-changing international economic situation. Now, under Prime Minister Kishida’s new form of capitalism, Japan is aiming for an economic society that balances solving social issues and economic growth, while emphasizing investment in people and promotion of –
Japan and the United States should work together.
Today, I look forward to discussing how Japan and United States exert our leadership towards realization of sustainable and inclusive economic growth of the international community, including the Indo-Pacific region, as well as maintenance and reinforcement of the rules-based free and open economic order. Thank you.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you very much, (inaudible).
SECRETARY RAIMONDO: Good morning. Tony and I are thrilled to host you this morning. I had the opportunity the other evening to express my condolences to Minister Hagiuda, but I haven’t seen you, so Minister Hayashi, please – and your delegation, please accept our condolences for Prime Minister Abe.
It’s a pleasure to be here, as I said, and I could not agree more with you, Minister Hayashi, that the international rules-based order that the United States and Japan, along with our friends and allies, built is being challenged, which means it’s incumbent upon us to strengthen our tie and step up to ensure that they cannot challenge this rules-based order. And I would suggest convenings of this kind are more important than ever, so thank you for enduring the long flight to be here with us.
We have a number of similar initiatives ongoing that all aim at the same goal. Last November, Minister Hagiuda and I launched the JUCIP, the U.S.-Japan Commercial and Industrial Partnership, to ensure that METI and the Department of Commerce work together to promote competitiveness and innovation. Today, of course, we are convening for the first time our economic 2+2 to discuss shared concerns of interest that are central to both foreign and economic policy.
I would say this format is the first of its kind. It is ambitious, exciting, and timely in light of the threats that we are seeing around the world. And the reality that, as you said, Minister Hayashi, economic security is very much more than ever tied to national security.
We have a mandate today to track what we have achieved together thus far and to drive cooperative efforts going forward in a way that can help further strengthen the rules-based economic order in the Indo-Pacific, and indeed, in the world.
I would take a minute to highlight that we’ve made significant achievements so far. I’m especially proud of Commerce and METI’s joint work already underway in the JUCIP. It’s already leading to concrete outcomes that we’ll discuss later today, including in the session which I am leading around building supply chain resilience.
Today in the rest of my comments, I also plan to focus on the newly launched Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which we believe is vital to establishing strength in the – economic strength in the Indo-Pacific. I want to thank Minister Hagiuda for the leadership you’re providing in the JUCIP, but also in the IPEF, and for your close partnership in ensuring the success of the supply chain ministerial last week and the virtual ministerial for IPEF this week. I commend you for participating in the virtual ministerial for IPEF and then immediately getting on a plane and coming here today.
Our shared interests make it imperative for us to continue leveraging dialogues like this, like the 2+2, like the JUCIP, like the supply chain, like the IPEF, to figure out concrete joint solutions for promoting economic growth, economic security that will also help us address the threats to the global economic order and enhance economic security and resilience. So I’m excited to have a productive discussion today.
MINISTER HAGIUDA: (Via interpreter) Commerce Secretary Raimondo, State Secretary Blinken, at the outset allow me to reiterate our heartfelt gratitude to deep condolences expressed to former Prime Minister Abe. Former Prime Minister Abe always said Japan-U.S. alliance is the cornerstone of Japan’s diplomacy.
Today historic kickoff of Japan-U.S. Economic 2+2 has materialized. Toward further deepening of Japan-U.S. alliance, a new page has been opened. This is how we think. Foreign and security policies and economic policy have become inseparable. Unilateral use of economic force in violation of international rules to fulfill diplomatic demand should never take place. State‑of‑the-art technology should be developed and utilized to further reinforce basic human rights and democracy.
Further, building economic architecture for a new era, including digital, is an urgent challenge that cannot wait. Vis-à-vis wider-ranging challenges, Japan and the United States – the world’s number one and number two democratic economic powers sharing universal values – will have – work hand in hand.
The 2+2 will not only be confined to Japan-U.S. bilateral, but will be a foundation which will bring peace and prosperity widely in the Indo-Pacific region. This is, as it were, compass for realizing free and open Indo-Pacific. This is our belief.
I’m looking forward to having a very good discussion. Let us send out to the world Japan‑United States unified and clear message. Thank you.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you so much, Mr. Minister and colleagues. And just to add my voice as well to Gina’s and to the minister’s, I had an opportunity to pay respects upon the assassination of Prime Minister Abe, and I think and I hope that the spirit of leadership and vision he brought to our relationship, which was exceptional, will help animate us in the work that we’re doing together.
It’s wonderful to have all of you here. We’re going to get into our session. I’m remiss in – for those of you who haven’t been here before, this is the Benjamin Franklin Room. Ben Franklin is gazing at us. He was our first diplomat, he signed our first treaty, he charted the Gulf Stream, he captured electricity, he forced an ethos of self-government – and virtually none of this did he do while sober. (Laughter.) But we will be serving tea this morning. (Laughter.)
MODERATOR: And with that, I will be serving as your moderator today and try to keep us on time on this rather ambitious agenda. We have two plenary sessions, each divided into two bits. The first session will be “Realizing Peace and Prosperity Through the Rules-Based Economic Order.” The speaking order will be Minister Hayashi, followed by Secretary Blinken, Minister Hagiuda, followed by Secretary Raimondo, and we’re going to allow about 20 minutes for this session.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thank you.