Hagerty: Prime Minister Fumio Kishida Will ‘Receive Bipartisan Support’ from U.S. Congress During Speech

Hiroshi Tajima / The Yomiuri Shimbun
Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will “receive bipartisan support” from the members of the U.S. Congress when he addresses its joint session on Thursday, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty said during an interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun.

During the interview conducted on Tuesday, Hagerty applauded Kishida’s efforts to strengthen Japan’s defense capabilities by raising spending for that purpose. “I feel certain … he will receive bipartisan support from the members of Congress that are in attendance,” he said.

Hagerty served as U.S. ambassador to Japan from 2017 to 2019 under the administration of former President Donald Trump. Winning a Senate seat in 2020, the Republican was one of the congressional leaders who worked to realize Kishida’s address during his visit to the United States.

Regarding the invitation for the prime minister to make a speech, “Everybody was very supportive,” Hagerty said. “They appreciated me taking the leadership to do this because they understand how important this relationship is.”

Hagerty is known to be close to Trump. If Trump beats incumbent Joe Biden in November’s presidential election, Hagerty is considered to be a potential pick for a cabinet position.

Hagerty said he had talked with Trump about U.S.-Japan relations “just the other day.” During the interview, the senator stressed how stable bilateral relations were between Trump and the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“This is a critically important relationship to President Trump,” Hagerty said. “It’s one that he stood arm in arm and shoulder to shoulder with the Japanese leader then, and I fully expect that to be the case in a new administration.”