Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to propose during a meeting with US President Donald Trump on Feb. 10 a bilateral economic co-operation plan, including the creation of a US$450 billion (S$636 billion) market through railways and other infrastructure investments in the United States to generate 700,000 jobs, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.
Trump has recently been stepping up criticism against the Japanese car market and the depreciation of the yen. Given the circumstances, Abe plans to emphasise during the upcoming talks that the bilateral co-operation will be of great advantage to the US economy.
A draft for the Japan-US economic co-operation plan sets forth bilateral co-operation in five fields as the "Japan-US growth and employment initiative." The five fields are: development of the world's most advanced infrastructure in the United States; drawing on demand for infrastructure around the world; research and development of robots and artificial intelligence; collaboration in new areas such as cyber and space; and co-operation in employment and defence.
The envisioned infrastructure development in the United States includes high-speed railway projects in the northeastern part of the country, and in Texas and California, to which Japan would provide technical co-operation and extend low-interest loans. Japan would also help replace as many as 3,000 train cars currently in use on railways and subways with new models over the next 10 years.
Japan would further co-operate in highly efficient gas-fired power generation and the latest compact nuclear power generation systems.
In the research and development field, the draft calls for co-operation between Japan, which has the edge in robot technology, and the United States, which leads the world in AI technology.
Japan and the United States will jointly develop robots to be used for inspecting aging infrastructure, decommissioning nuclear power plants, and carrying out medical diagnosis and surgery.
In addition to autonomous cars, the draft also sets a goal of developing autonomous planes and ships.
With China in mind, Abe plans to propose strengthening the implementation of trade rules to cope with oversupply of steel, aluminium and other metals as well as illegal acquisition of intellectual property.
Japan and the United States would jointly work on creating common rules related to e-commerce, government procurement, labour and other issues so that Japanese and US companies will be able to operate under fair conditions, even in "non-market economies" where preferential treatment is given to state-owned enterprises and free competition among private companies is not guaranteed.
Abe is expected to explain the proposals directly to Trump in their planned meeting on Feb. 10. He is also expected to propose that the two countries lead the world in trade rules and technological development.