TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged Wednesday to deepen alliances with the United States under Japan’s new defense policy It is a departure from an exclusively self-defense stance in the face of rising regional tensions.
After visiting Ise Jingu Shrine in central Japan, Kishida will travel to Washington to meet with President Joe Biden at a press conference, highlighting the strength of the Japan-U.S. alliance and promoting Japan’s new security and defense strategy. adopted last month..
The US visit is part of Kishida’s next visit to most of the G7 countries, which begins Monday. Japan will host this year’s G7 summit in Hiroshima. Kishida said the meeting with Biden was “very important” and “more important than showing my face as G-7 president.”
“We will show the world a stronger Japan-U.S. alliance, which is the cornerstone of Japan’s security and diplomacy,” Kishida said. In addition, we will demonstrate further cooperation toward the realization of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” ”
Japan has purchased hundreds of U.S.-developed Tomahawk and other long-range cruise missiles under a new security and defense plan to pre-empt possible attacks, and amid growing concerns about a Taiwan emergency. We are strengthening the defense of southwestern Japan. Japanese media said the United States and Japan are expected to discuss how they will cooperate in the dispute over Taiwan.
Early on Wednesday, the White House announced that Biden would host Kishida for economic and security talks on Jan. 13.
Biden and Kishida are expected to discuss North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, including the possibility of another nuclear test by an isolated country, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Taiwan Strait stability, climate change, economic issues, and more. White said there are concerns about House spokesperson Carine Jean-Pierre said.
The two leaders last met in Bali, Indonesia, on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in November.
According to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kishida will meet with the leaders of France, Italy, Britain and Canada during his visit from Jan. 9 to 15.
Kishida on Wednesday vowed to tackle Japan’s dire problem of declining births and pushed forward his “new capitalist” policies, which he said would create a “virtuous cycle of growth and wealth distribution” for decades. It also said it would achieve steady increases in salaries, which had been stagnant.
The number of babies born in Japan last year is expected to drop to a new record below 800,000, part of a steady decline seen as eroding national power.
Kishida said the government will expand support for childcare, reduce gender disparities in salaries and working conditions, and make further efforts to lower barriers for women.
Japan is the world’s third largest economy, but the cost of living is high and wage growth is slow. Conservative governments are lagging behind in making societies more inclusive for children, women and minorities.
So far, government efforts to encourage people to have more babies have had limited impact, despite introducing subsidy payments for pregnancy, childbirth and childcare.
Associated Press White House correspondent Zeke Miller contributed to this report.