Kishida to reaffirm stronger Japan-U.S. ties in Biden meeting

Jiji Press
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stands by a board at the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday, counting down the days to Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima in May.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is keen to confirm and deepen the Japan-U.S. alliance during his upcoming summit with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington after Japan revised three key documents, including the National Security Strategy, according to sources.

The meeting, scheduled for Jan. 13, is also intended to lay the ground for the Group of Seven summit to be held in Hiroshima in May.

Speaking Wednesday at his first press conference of the year, Kishida stressed that the Japan-U.S. summit “will be a very important meeting that goes beyond chairing of the G7.”

“I want to reaffirm closer bilateral cooperation toward the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he said.

It will be the first time for Kishida to visit Washington since taking office and the first Japan-U.S. summit since he and Biden met in Phnom Penh in November. Kishida had previously sought to hold a Japan-U.S. summit at the White House but was unable to arrange a suitable date.

Biden is reportedly considering visiting Nagasaki — which was hit by an atomic bomb in 1945 — during his visit to Japan for the Hiroshima summit. The Japanese and U.S. leaders are expected to coordinate on a possible itinerary during the Washington summit.

According to Japanese and U.S. diplomatic sources, the two countries plan to hold so-called two-plus-two security talks that will be attended by Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada on the Japanese side and Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on the U.S. side. The new division of roles between the Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military is likely to be on the main agenda at the security talks.

By holding such talks during Kishida’s Washington visit, Japan and the United States likely hope to signal their close tie to the world.