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Japan’s Leader Vows Deeper Defense Alliance with U.S.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in January 2023 pledged to deepen his country’s alliance with the United States under Japan’s new defense policy, which significantly enhances its exclusively self-defense stance in the face of growing regional tensions.

Kishida’s comments came ahead of his mid-January visit to Washington, D.C., for talks with U.S. President Joe Biden to underscore the strength of the Japan-U.S. alliance and highlight closer cooperation between the countries under Japan’s new security and defense strategies adopted in December 2022. 

The two leaders also discussed North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs amid concerns over a potential nuclear test by the reclusive nation, as well as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, stability across the Taiwan Strait, climate change and economic issues.

The U.S. visit was part of Kishida’s trip to most of the Group of Seven countries. Japan is chair of the organization of major industrial nations in 2023, including hosting the G7 summit in Hiroshima in May.

“We will show to the rest of the world an even stronger Japan-U.S. alliance, which is a linchpin of Japanese security and diplomacy,” Kishida said. “We will also show our further cooperation toward achieving a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” (Pictured: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida rides on a Type 10 tank during a review at the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Camp Asaka in Tokyo in November 2021.)

Under its new security and defense plans, Japan is buying hundreds of U.S.-developed Tomahawks and other long-range cruise missiles to preempt possible attacks and also building up defenses in southwestern Japan amid growing worries of a Taiwan emergency.  The Associated Press

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