Kishida aims to enhance Japan-NATO cooperation

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrives for the NATO summit in Madrid on Wednesday.

MADRID — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, as the first leader of Japan to attend a NATO summit, expressed Tokyo’s intention to strengthen cooperation with the alliance on Wednesday.

“An agreement was reached to raise the Japan-NATO relationship to a new level,” Kishida said to reporters after the summit in Madrid. “It is of historical significance that I was able to participate in the meeting when NATO was devising its new strategic concept.”

Kishida announced during the summit that Japan will drastically revise its individual partnership and cooperation program with NATO.

“The Ukraine crisis caused us to recognize once again that the security of Europe and the Indo-Pacific is inseparable,” the prime minister said. “Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow.”

Referring to Beijing’s aggressive maritime advances in the East China Sea and South China Sea, Kishida said, “We must show our unity that any attempts to make unilateral changes to the status quo by force will never succeed.”

Kishida left Madrid-Barajas Airport on a government plane on Wednesday night. He was scheduled to arrive at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on Thursday evening.