Economic Section

Nicholas Hill
Economic Minister Counselor

The Economic Section promotes cooperation between the United States and Japan to build greater economic prosperity, promote environmental sustainability, and strengthen international economic security. The section’s specific responsibilities include:

  • Working to identify and remove regulatory, competition policy, and other market access problems facing U.S. companies in Japan,
  • Endeavoring to remove barriers and improve the climate for investors, and
  • Conducting extensive outreach to Japanese policymakers, private sector leaders, academics, and others to strengthen economic relationships bilaterally, in the region, and worldwide.

Headed by the Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs, the section is organized into the following units:

  • Trade and Economic Policy
  • Environment, Science, Technology, and Health

Through the U.S.-Japan Economic Partnership for Growth, the section takes an active role in the Economic Harmonization Initiative between Japan and the United States with the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and in the U.S.-Japan Investment Initiative (PDF 375 KB), led by the State Department. The section prepares the “Investment Climate Statement” which is Chapter 6 of the Country Commercial Guide.

The Economic Section coordinates closely with others in the Embassy, including the Foreign Commercial Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, and Financial Attache.

The Trade and Economic Policy Unit manages trade issues and policy advocacy including:

  • Service industries (insurance, maritime, civil aviation, and distribution)
  • Basic industry (autos and parts, glass, paper)
  • Government procurement
  • High technology industries (computers, supercomputers, semiconductors, satellites)
  • Intellectual property issues

The Unit monitors implementation of sectoral market access agreements negotiated under the 1993 Framework, and works with Japanese officials, business people, and others on global and regional trade matters. The Unit also handles structural issues, including deregulation, health care, administrative reform, and competition policy. It is responsible for covering Japan’s role in multilateral organizations such as the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

In addition, the Unit works with Japanese officials and stakeholders on global economic challenges ranging from energy policy to promoting sustainable economic development.

The Environment, Science, Technology and Health Unit of the Economic Section:

  • Promotes cooperation on international environmental issues, including climate change, oceans, and fisheries,
  • Works to support strong relations among U.S. and Japanese scientists by sponsoring the Science Network-Japan program to connect American researchers in Japan
  • Handles export controls and other matters connected with combating the development and spread of weapons of mass destruction
  • Coordinates closely with the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Agency for International Development (USAID) offices in the embassy on programs covering a range of topics from space to the environment to health issues
  • Reports on telecommunications goods and services
  • Facilitates U.S. industrial competitiveness through initiatives that enhance U.S. access to Japanese technology and by reporting on important Japanese science and technology developments
  • Has responsibility for all USG civil space initiatives with Japan, through NASA’s representative in Tokyo, who is a member of the Unit