Japan PM says Importance of Japan-U.S. Ties Won’t Change; Kishida Hopes Toyota Plant Shows Japan’s Economic Influence in U.S.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during an interview at the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday, ahead of his visit to the United States.

With the outcome of the election becoming increasingly uncertain, Kishida plans to use his state visit as a platform for showing to the international community the depth of the Japan-U.S. relationship in the security and economic fields.

“Understanding of the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance is spreading beyond party lines within the United States,” Kishida said in an exclusive interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun on Thursday. “To reinforce this even further during my visit, it’s vital to carefully explain the importance of this alliance and Japan’s efforts” on issues including bolstering the nation’s defense capabilities.

During Kishida’s meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday, the two leaders are expected to confirm their cooperation in a wide range of fields including security, space, semiconductors, artificial intelligence, quantum science technology and the fifth-generation cellular network.

Kishida and Biden also are expected to agree to establish a ministerial-level “policy dialogue” to promote the shift toward clean energy. The two countries intend to jointly promote the introduction of floating offshore wind-power generation. Both sides are making preparations for their joint statement to include wording that stipulates Japan will become the “first” partner of the United States and that they will promote innovative breakthroughs “together.”

Inexpensive China-made solar panels currently dominate the market and have been a factor behind the lack of development in Japan’s panel industry. Tokyo and Washington will aim to build supply networks that do not rely on China-made products in decarbonization and other fields.

Kishida is scheduled to visit a Toyota Motor Corp. plant that is under construction in North Carolina on April 12. The prime minister said he hopes the factory visit will demonstrate the contribution Japanese companies make to the U.S. economy.

“It’s crucial to show that Japan is the world’s largest investor nation in the United States, that Japanese companies are supporting U.S. employment and that the potential for further investment in the United States in the years ahead is huge,” Kishida said.