The Sunday editions of all national dailies reported extensively on the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Japan Economic Policy Consultative Committee (EPCC), or Economic 2+2, held in Washington on Friday. The papers wrote that the United States and Japan reaffirmed close cooperation in establishing a rules-based international economic order with China and Russia in mind. The two nations released a joint statement and an action plan for achieving this goal that includes efforts to develop next-generation semiconductors through a research hub in Japan, strengthen supply chain resilience for semiconductors and other strategic materials, counter economic coercion and opaque lending practices, and secure critical and emerging technologies and infrastructure. They also agreed to strengthen investment in the energy sector and secure energy resources, including LNG, in response to the current energy crisis triggered by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Washington and Tokyo also agreed to promote their visions through the EPCC and other platforms, including the G7, APEC, and Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), and the ministers agreed to meet under the 2+2 format periodically.
Yomiuri speculated that Japan, which will host the G7 meeting next year, hopes to expand the coalition against China with likeminded nations based on the Economic 2+2 with the United States. The daily also wrote that attention will be focused on whether the United States and Japan will be able to win nations that depend on China over to their side.
Asahi highlighted Secretary Blinken’s statement at the post-meeting joint press conference in which he referred to China’s coercive economic practices and “debt traps.”
Nikkei, Yomiuri, and Mainichi wrote that Foreign Minister Hayashi conveyed to the U.S. side Japan’s plan to maintain its interests in the Sakhalin-2 oil and LNG project in the Russian Far East.