Kishida Leaves for Tour of Europe, Canada, U.S.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks to reporters in the official residence of the prime minister, January 8, 2023

Tokyo (Jiji Press)—Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida left for a seven-day tour of European countries, Canada and the United States on a government jet from Tokyo International Airport at Haneda in the early hours of Monday.

In preparation for the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima, western Japan, in May, Kishida will hold talks with leaders of all G-7 partner nations but one.

The prime minister will meet with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday. It will be the first time for Kishida to visit Washington since he took office in October 2021.

He will return to Japan on Sunday.

Ahead of his departure, Kishida told reporters at the prime minister’s official residence on Sunday evening, “I hope to have candid, heart-to-heart talks with my G-7 counterparts and further deepen personal relationships of trust.”

“It will be important to confirm the basic stance of defending the rule of law and the international order based on rules,” he added.

In his talks with Biden, Kishida plans to explain about Japan’s recent revision of three key national security documents partly aimed at including plans for the country to possess counterstrike capabilities, hoping to win the president’s full backing to the move.

He will also convey to Biden Japan’s plan to boost defense spending. Through the Japan-U.S. summit, Kishida aims to call world attention to the deepening of the Japan-U.S. alliance.

Elsewhere in the meeting, Kishida and Biden, with China’s increasingly hegemonic actions in mind, are expected to agree to cooperate toward realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific and confirm the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. They will discuss responses to North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile launches as well.

Ahead of his visit to the United States, Kishida will visit France, Italy, Britain and Canada between Monday and Thursday. He plans to seek cooperation from these countries’ leaders toward the success of the G-7 summit and hopes to build trust relationships with them. Also, the prime minister aims to agree with the leaders to cooperate in imposing sanctions on Russia and providing assistance to Ukraine, and share with them recognitions about the East Asian situation.