Japanese PM to discuss new agenda during his Western tour
Fumio Kishida, Japan's prime minsiter, intends to discuss regional and international affairs, including Chinese presence in the Pacific and joint drills.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida kicked off his seven-day tour of European countries, Canada and the United States in the early hours of Monday.
Kishida told reporters that he hopes “to have candid, heart-to-heart talks” with his G7 counterparts “and further deepen personal relationships of trust.”
His upcoming talks with Group of Seven (G7) leaders will take place ahead of the G7 summit in Hiroshima in May.
Next Gen Plane, Joint Drills
During his talks with French President Emmanuel Macron later in the day, Kishida intends to discuss concern over China’s activity in the Pacific and confirm expanding joint military drills between Paris and Tokyo.
Japan’s joint development and production of its F-X next-generation fighter jet with the UK and Italy will most likely be a top agenda item during his visits to Rome and London on Tuesday and Wednesday.
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The Japanese Prime Minister’s Western tour unfolds while Tokyo and London discuss a Reciprocal Access Agreement that would remove obstacles to holding joint military exercises in Japan or Britain.
Aside from the Japan-US security treaty, which allows American troops to be stationed in Japan, Tokyo only has a similar agreement with Australia, and Britain is expected to be the third - a topic that will be discussed during Kishida's visit to the UK.
The Japanese prime minister will meet his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on Thursday. It will be Kishida's first visit to Canada since he was elected in 2021.
A press release from Trudeau's office earlier said that the two will discuss strengthening bilateral trade, the war in Ukraine, and Japan's upcoming G7 presidency. "I look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Kishida to Canada and working even more closely together to deliver results for people in Canada and Japan," Trudeau stressed in a statement late last week.
Kishida will meet with US President Joe Biden at the White House on Friday, in what will be the Japanese PM’s first visit to Washington since he took office in October 2021.
He told reporters late last week that “with the United States, we'll discuss deepening our bilateral alliance and how to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific.” “It will be a chance to show the Japanese and US stance to the international community,” he added.
Kishida also stated that his discussions with Biden will highlight how the two countries can collaborate more closely under Japan's new security and defense strategies, which were adopted in December.
Read next: Japan defense plan to 'strengthen and modernize' US alliance
Strategists stipulate a counterstrike capability that is out of sync with Tokyo’s exclusively self-defense-only postwar principle. Under the strategies, Japan will reinforce defenses on its southwestern islands close to Taiwan, including Yonaguni and Ishigaki, where new bases are being constructed.
Kishida and Biden are also expected to discuss China, and North Korea’s nuclear and missile development as well as the war in Ukraine. Bilateral collaboration will additionally be included in the field of supply chain and economic security will most likely also be on the table.