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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 3, 1999


       United States-Japan Cooperation in Science and Technology 
                          and the Environment

Today President Clinton and Prime Minister of Obuchi of Japan made concrete progress towards implementation of the United States-Japan Common Agenda for Cooperation in Global Perspective, which covers cooperation between our two countries in areas such as controlling and eradicating diseases, protecting the environment, responding to natural disasters, and exchanging scientific data climate change. The two leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to implement the bilateral Agreement on Cooperation in Research and Development in Science and Technology, and to increase cooperation in addressing the Y2K computer problem.

Environment: The Common Agenda for Cooperation

The Common Agenda for Cooperation in Global Perspective has grown in scope as non-governmental organizations and the private sector have joined with the governments of United States and Japans in its implementation. At an April 8 Common Agenda Plenary meeting, delegations from both countries reviewed our accomplishments to date and explored areas for future collaboration. New cooperative ventures the United States and Japan are pursuing include the following:

Ocean Climate Variability: The United States and Japan are exploring ways to improve climate predictions by expanding operational ocean observing capabilities in the Pacific Ocean using a sophisticated system of autonomous floats and satellites.

Integrated Ocean Drilling: New cooperation in this area will enable us to examine changes in climate and oceanographic conditions by shedding light on earthquake rupture zones, continental margins, and ocean basins.

Science and Technology: Research and Development and Y2K Cooperation

The United States and Japan recently reached agreement on the substantive elements of a revised bilateral Agreement on Cooperation in Research and Development in Science and Technology. This agreement will serve as the umbrella arrangement for scientific cooperation between our two countries, strengthen intellectual property rights protections, and encourage increased research and development. It will also provide improved mechanisms for policy coordination, and increase exchanges of scientists and researchers between the United States and Japan. This cooperation is expected to create new opportunities for both public and private involvement in joint research, an important goal of both countries.

The United States and Japan are also committed to working closely to address the challenges posed by the Year 2000 (Y2K) computer problem. Since issuing a joint statement in New York last September, both governments have successfully collaborated to combat the problem from computer systems in the transportation, healthcare, financial services, telecommunications, energy, and development assistance sectors. Examples of bilateral Y2K cooperation include:

Testing by civil aviation authorities in both countries of interfaces between air traffic control systems; Consultations between officials from the two central banks on the readiness of financial systems; Information-sharing between telecommunications and energy officials on approaches to testing and remediation; and Sponsorship of events to promote readiness among small- and medium-sized private enterprises.

As January 1, 2000 approaches, the United States and Japan will focus on joint testing, sharing of best practices in contingency planning, and emergency response. Our two governments will also continue active participation in the International Y2K Cooperation Center, and will work to organize the meeting of national Y2K coordinators scheduled for June at the United Nations.

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