A large group of NSWG participants standing in front of a table.
A group photo of the U.S.-Japan Nuclear Security Working Group participants in Tokyo.

The U.S.-Japan Nuclear Security Working Group met for the first time since 2019 to discuss bilateral cooperation on a range of nuclear security topics

WASHINGTON – The U.S.-Japan Nuclear Security Working Group convened for its 11th meeting this week in Tokyo. It was established in 2011 to demonstrate leadership in strengthening nuclear security worldwide and enhancing international cooperation in peaceful nuclear activities. The 11th meeting was set to take place in 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Corey Hinderstein and Shigeki Ito confer during the NSWG meeting. Both are wearing face masks.
The NSWG meeting’s co-chairs were NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Corey Hinderstein, left, and Ambassador Shigeki Ito, Deputy Director-General of the Foreign Ministry's Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Science Department.

The NSWG meeting’s co-chairs were NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Corey Hinderstein and Ambassador Shigeki Ito, Deputy Director-General of the Foreign Ministry's Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Science Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“While our work together continued diligently during the pandemic, including the completion of the project to remove all highly enriched uranium from the Kyoto University Critical Assembly, there is no substitute for being able to have regular face-to-face discussions on these issues,” Hinderstein said. “The NSWG is an important forum for us to discuss nuclear security and nonproliferation cooperation.”

Corey Hinderstein uses bolt cutters to cut through a chain link fence.
NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Corey Hinderstein tests physical protection delay measures at a Japan Atomic Energy Agency exercise facility.

“With the international community's interest in addressing nuclear security risks, close cooperation between Japan and the U.S. in this area is of great significance,” Ito said. “This meeting was very meaningful, as we were able to discuss new goals. We would like to continue our efforts to strengthen nuclear security in both Japan and the U.S.”

The meeting covered updates to existing goals and next steps for bilateral cooperation in nuclear security, research and development, nuclear safeguards, nuclear transportation security, special nuclear material minimization, plutonium management, countering nuclear smuggling, and nuclear material attractiveness. Additionally, three new areas were proposed and mapped out for cooperation: radiological security, interdiction, and the global nuclear security legal framework.

The U.S. delegation included representatives from NNSA, the National Security Council, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Department of State, Department of Defense, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Japanese delegation included representatives from the Nuclear Regulatory Agency; National Police Agency; Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology; Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry; and the Japan Atomic Energy Association.

The 12th U.S.-Japan NSWG is planned for late-summer 2023 in the United States.

Corey Hinderstein is shown the reactor mock-up.
NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Corey Hinderstein examining a replica of the Japan Research Reactor 3 core.
A group of people in protective gear pose for a photo in a hallfway.
Nuclear Security Working Group participants, including U.S. and Japan co-chairs NNSA Deputy Administrator Corey Hinderstein and Ambassador Shigeki Ito, in physical protective equipment at the Japan Materials Testing Reactor.