Kishida to Outline Future Vision for Japan-U.S. Ties in U.S. Congressional Address; Seeks to Boost Defense, Security Cooperation

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida intends to convey his vision for the future relationship between Japan and the United States during his address to the U.S. Congress next week and also plans to “fundamentally strengthen” Japan’s cybersecurity capabilities.

In an exclusive interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun on Thursday, Kishida said his address to Congress during his upcoming visit as a state guest to the United States would “show the general direction of the future that Japan and the United States are trying to leave for the next generation.”

Kishida will visit the United States from Monday, with stops in Washington, D.C. and North Carolina before returning to Japan on April 14. Kishida is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday and deliver a speech to Congress on Thursday. He will be the first Japanese prime minister to address Congress since 2015, when then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did so.

Describing the current international situation as being at a “historic turning point,” Kishida said he “wants to show that Japan and the United States are global partners in strengthening defense and security cooperation and in maintaining the free and open international order based on the rule of law.”

Kishida indicated that cyber issues would be a major item on the agenda during his talks with Biden.

“Maintaining and further developing a free, open and stable cyberspace is indispensable for the prosperity of Japan and the United States,” Kishida said. Japan must fundamentally strengthen its cybersecurity capabilities and cooperate with the United States and other like-minded nations to deal with this issue.”

During their meeting, Kishida and Biden are expected to agree on bolstering the Japan-U.S. joint production system to prevent defense equipment inventory shortages.

“That would help strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance’s deterrence and response capabilities and contribute to improved security in the Indo-Pacific,” Kishida said, adding that he wants to pursue “specific possibilities.”

The prime minister also seeks to hold a summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Kishida said he “wants to confirm close coordination” bilaterally with the United States and trilaterally with Washington and Seoul “based on a common understanding that a path to dialogue with North Korea has been opened,” during his meeting with Biden.