NATO Head Stoltenberg ‘Planning to Visit Japan’

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is seen at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 18.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general, is planning to visit Japan as early as this month for talks with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned from several NATO officials.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization chief reportedly aims to strengthen security-related cooperation between NATO and Japan over the Indo-Pacific region. He also is expected to express support for Japan’s National Security Strategy, which was revised late last year.

Stoltenberg, who has not visited Japan since 2017, will also visit South Korea, where he will meet with President Yoon Suk-yeol.

NATO revised its Strategic Concept last June and has made clear its policy of contributing to the stability of the Indo-Pacific region. Stoltenberg’s visit amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine reportedly is also aimed at showing solidarity with Japan and South Korea.

Stoltenberg’s meeting with Kishida is slated for Jan. 31, the sources said. The two sides are expected to confirm strengthened cooperation over preparations for “hybrid warfare” — conflict that combines military and non-military elements — in anticipation of possible crises, such as a contingency in Taiwan.