US – Japan Internet Economy Dialogue Lays Out Road Map for Cooperation in 2014

The United States and Japanese governments met to discuss the future of the Internet Economy March 11-13. The meeting marked the fifth Directors-General level discussion on future cooperation between the US and Japan on Internet Governance issues and sets the stage for the upcoming April NETmundial conference in Brazil, and the October ITU plenipotentiary session in Korea later this year. Both governments issued a joint statement while their respective business communities also underlined their expectations in a separate joint statement with respect to coordinating US and Japanese approaches with respect to privacy and cyber security.

Waiting for a crisis to change the way both governments work together is not sufficient.

The Internet Economy Dialogue is a key forum for economic discussions between Japan and the United States and addresses the significant contributions to growth and innovation that the Internet Economy makes to both economies.  The dialogue focuses on common challenges in advancing the Internet Economy and shares best practices with the goal of better aligning the respective approaches of the countries in their domestic markets and strengthening US-Japan collaboration and leadership on Internet policy in the Asia region.

KICIS researchers were deeply involved in the crafting of the joint statement between the two business communities and with engaging the US and Japanese governments. Below is a summary of the comments delivered on behalf of the business communities to the two governments in a March 12 joint session.

Internet Governance:  The two business communities are united in calling for enhanced cooperation and dialogue between the US and Japanese government in the lead up to a number of key international meetings on the future of the Internet – including in Brazil and Korea.  Internet governance needs to be high on the diplomatic agenda for both governments in 2014.


Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda (US) & Director General Yasuo Sakamoto (MIC)

The US and Japan were leaders in developing and building the Internet, but must come to accept the new “reality” that the world is a more diverse and to some extent less friendly environment, in which large numbers of Internet users reside in countries that do not share our values. This requires heightened attention to our internal coordination and our external messaging.

Both sides must engage more proactively (both separately and together) with countries that support market principles and share a vision of a global, democratic Internet.

Privacy:  This is an issue of concern to both citizens and governments in both countries. Privacy needs to be protected, but information shared. Businesses need to strike the right balance and getting it right is critical to future innovation and growth in the US-Japan economies. Japan can be a model for the Asian region in developing and implementing its new privacy framework. The two business communities are requesting that deliberations on this new framework be open and transparent.

Privacy needs to be protected, but information shared

As part of this process, the private sectors welcome the “wisdom of the crowd” as represented by the multistakeholder communities in both countries.

Cyber Security:  A key request from the two business communities is for the two governments to find ways to enhance their cooperation on cyber security. This means improving channels of communication and finding ways to share information on the cyber threat – including digital crime.

Waiting for a crisis to change the way both governments work together is not sufficient. Both the USG and the Japanese government are implementing reforms to strengthen their respective management of cyber security. This as an opportunity to move to a new level of collaboration between the two governments, which in turn will help spur stronger joint efforts among the private sectors.

Joint Collaboration:  The Dialogue is now in its fourth year and has finished its fifth meeting. The business communities agree that it is time to move beyond declarations to more tangible cooperation.

Both sides are excited about the prospect of working together to bring ICT-driven innovation to Tokyo’s hosting of the 2020 Olympics and in supporting the Abe administration’s strategy to strengthen Japan’s international competitiveness in the ICT field.

The US and Japan must be bold in their plans for 2020, but also need to link these plans to clear-headed business strategies.  We have to be mindful that technological innovation will probably be the most important factor in driving our collaboration.

For that reason, working to align IT governance policies and processes between the two countries in areas such as the licensing of white space, rules regarding the storage and use of content online and on net neutrality, will help to achieve the practical outcomes we both desire.

Concluding TPP:  The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations should focus on balancing data usage, privacy and information security while promoting the free transfer of data. Cross-border data services offer superior security, functionality and cost efficacy and should be allowed cross-border access based on open market principles. The private sectors urge both governments to reinforce their efforts to work with others in reaching an early conclusion to these important talks.

Read the 2014 Joint Statement (US – Japan Governments) 

Read the 2014 Joint Statement (US – Japan Private Sectors)