Japan Digest #384

1.        PM Kishida Delivered A Speech At OECD To Promote Generative AI’s Framework


As anticipated in the last digest, PM Kishida visited Paris during the Golden Week in Japan and delivered a keynote speech on May 2 at the opening ceremony of this year’s OECD Board of Directors meeting.

He introduced Japan’s idea of an international AI framework “Hiroshima AI Process Friends Group” that stemmed from the Hiroshima AI Process that the G7 Hiroshima Summit agreed to pursue last year.

The framework is to set a common international rule of generative AI’s utilization to be safe, secure and reliable.

As Japan chairs this year’s OECD board meeting, the Japanese government will promote the framework and would like as many of the 49 OECD members as possible to join it. 

The Japanese industries have another agenda to promote their Originator Profile technology as a sort of de facto standard to validate the reliability of generative AI based information under this new framework.


2   Japan To Participate In Australian Navy’s Next Generation Frigate Procurement Project


Royal Australian Navy announced a plan in February this year to procure eleven new general purpose frigates through the co-development with an international partner . 

The Navy named Japan as well as Spain, Korea and Germany as candidates of the partner country. 

Yomiuri reported on May 7 on the front page that the Japanese Government had begun coordinating the government organizations and industry that are expected to be involved in this co-development project toward a consensus to bid on the tender. 

The Ministry of Defense is now looking into a plan to propose its Type Mogami Destroyer as a base configuration, based on which other equipment and functions that the Australian Navy requires shall be added. 

The very first Type Mogami destroyer was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industry and inaugurated in 2022. 

Although the Japanese newest destroyer has superior features like automatization, shallow water operability, stealth, multi-functional capability (ASW, AAW, AMW), Japan has no record of supplying defense equipment to Australia, while Spain and Korea have.  

In 2016, Japan lost the bid of the Australia’s next generation submarine co-development against France.


3.  Japan, U.S., Australia And Philippine’s Defense Leaders Shared Concern Of China


On May 2, Defense Minister Kihara of Japan, Defense Secretary Austin of the United States, Defense Minister Marles of Australia and Defense Minister Teodoro of Philippine gathered in Honolulu and discussed about regional security issues, especially in the East and South China Seas. 

This is the second quad defense leaders meeting after the first one in June last year. 

This time, the four members left a joint document expressing the following five points: 

l  The four nations share grave concern over the situations in the East and South China Seas. 

l  The countries absolutely object dangerous behaviors by the ships of maritime patrol organizations or maritime militia.

l  The members express grave concern about the obstructions caused by China against Filipino ships’ “freedom of navigation” . 

l  The four member nations will collaborate with each other to propel the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Region”. 

l  The four countries agreed to promote defense cooperation including strengthening the cooperation in the South China Sea and defense capability build-up support.


4.  More Japanese Approve Amendments Of The Constitution


In honoring the Constitution Day of May 3, Yomiuri conducts a survey with regard to the Constitution and the possibility of its amendments every year. 

This year, 63% of the respondents replied that it’s better to amend the present Constitution. 

It is 2 points higher than a year before.  

As for the articles of the Constitution to be amended, 53% (51% last year) approved to amend Article 9, Section 2 that specifies no possession of military forces, and 56% (54% last year) agreed to amend the Constitution to add an article that Japan organizes and operates the Self Defense Forces (There is no mention of the SDF in the present Constitution).

In the meantime, 75% said there is no need to amend Article 9 Section 1 that declares Japan’s renunciation of war.

The percentage remains unchanged from the previous year’s.


5. Japan To Try To Strengthen Economic Cooperation With Latin America


PM Kishida, after visiting France, flew to Brazil and spent two days there, followed by a visit to Paraguay on May 5. 

He delivered a speech in Sao Paolo to strengthen reliable and fair economic cooperation as opposed to economic coercion or debt trap. 

He implied the problems that China’s economic cooperation with Latin American countries are causing without naming it. 

Since Brazil is chairing the G20 Summit this year and also chairing COP30 next year, PM Kishida and President Lura of Brazil agreed to lead likeminded countries toward low carbon technology.  

Specifically, the two leaders agreed to cooperate with each other in promoting Brazil’s bio-fuel technology and Japan’s hybrid technology.

The two also agreed to support mutual industries to explore carbon-free fuel such as hydrogen and ammonium.

One of the reasons why Kishida visited Paraguay among others is because the country is the only one in the South America that keeps diplomatic relationship with Taiwan. 

The visit demonstrates Japan’s charge against China’s hegemonic and coercive movement in the region.