Japan and the United States are looking to set up three working groups at a bilateral summit slated for April, with the groupings expected to cover the fields of emerging technologies, climate change, and COVID-19 measures, coupled with bilateral economic cooperation, Japanese government sources have said.

The fields are all closely related to policy tasks that are viewed by U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration as increasingly important, and their establishment is being considered in order to further bolster Japan-U.S. ties, the sources said Friday.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is scheduled to visit the United States from April 8 to 10.

He’ll meet with Biden in person on April 9, becoming the first foreign leader to do so. The session will precede a U.S.-hosted meeting on climate change among leaders of major emitters set for April 22.

Joe Biden | AFP-JIJI
Joe Biden | AFP-JIJI

On Thursday, Suga told a news conference that he hopes that his meeting with Biden “will lead to an even stronger Japan-U.S. alliance.”

“I want to discuss Japan-China relations, climate change and the coronavirus in a frank manner,” he continued.

The Biden administration is moving to strengthen ties with Japan and other countries in the Indo-Pacific region in response to China’s growing assertiveness.

Envisioning the establishment of safe supply chains, his administration aims to exclude China from the distribution networks of key products, such as semiconductors, as well as the 5G ultrafast communications network.

Washington is finding it difficult to increase its economic presence in the region as it remains cautious about returning to the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal.

In view of that, Japan will work with the United States to consider how to bolster cooperation, according to the sources.

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