U.S. envoy hails Japan security revision

Jiji Press
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel speaks during an interview.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel on Friday welcomed the Japanese government’s drastic revision of its three key national security documents.

In an interview with Jiji Press, Emanuel said that the move will help the Japan-U.S. alliance “usher in a new era” for the defense of democracy.

He also said that Japan’s plan to secure counterstrike capabilities, included in the revision, will play an essential role in deterrence.

Emanuel mentioned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and provocative moves by North Korea, as well as China’s military buildup and its “constant harassment” around the Senkaku Islands.

“This is a complex and challenging neighborhood,” he noted, adding that Japan’s self-defense needed “a comprehensive review.”

On the goal of realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific region shared by Tokyo and Washington, Emanuel stressed that Japan is “not just a number one ally and friend” but also “a singularly essential partner in executing” the initiative.

He praised Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for the revision, which marked a big defense policy shift, saying that the Japanese leader “has shown incredible courage to confronting the complexity of the strategic challenges.”

Emanuel also suggested that Japan’s plans to increase defense spending and possess counterstrike capabilities mean that the country will play its own part in its self-defense and in the articulation of the strategic goals of its alliance with the United States.

U.S. President Joe Biden is set to visit the western Japan city of Hiroshima, devastated by a U.S. atomic bombing in 1945 in the closing days of World War II, for a Group of Seven summit next May.

Pointing to Russia’s threats to use nuclear weapons and the possibility of North Korea conducting a nuclear test, Emanuel said that the Hiroshima trip is “not just symbolic but substantively relevant” to the current situation.

Biden “is fully aware of the value” of the visit, Emanuel said.