Blinken: Japan to join NATO summit in June

WASHINGTON (Jiji Press) — Japan will attend a NATO summit meeting to be held in Madrid in late June, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday.

He made the remark at a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in response to a question from former U.S. Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty, now a senator. The summit will also be attended by U.S. President Joe Biden.

“Japan has stood up in remarkable ways on the Ukrainian crisis,” Blinken said at the hearing, noting that Japan is not a NATO member state but is a friendly country deepening its ties with NATO members.

NATO is developing its partnerships with the four Asia-Pacific countries of Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Also at the hearing, Blinken reacted positively to a proposal by Hagerty to newly create a task force on energy security under the Quad framework involving Japan, the United States, Australia and India, saying that is a very interesting idea.

At a press conference in Tokyo on Wednesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said, “Nothing has been decided on Japan’s participation in the NATO summit.”