January 30, 2023

Biden and Kishida, the Japanese prime minister, meet to discuss China’s growing power

Japan is an important member of the Quadruple Alliance in Asia, which includes the United States, India and Australia, and it was formed in part to counter Chinese power in the Indo-Pacific region. Chinese officials say it is clear that the US is trying to use alliances and partnerships in the region to constrain China, including the Quartet as well as AUKUS, the new security alliance formed by the US, Britain and Australia.

On Friday, the United States and Japan also announced a new agreement to cooperate in the exploration of outer space, the moon and “other celestial bodies”. The agreement was signed by Anthony J. Blinken, the US Secretary of State, and Yoshimasa Hayashi, the Japanese Foreign Minister, praised the agreement at an event at the headquarters of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

US and Japanese officials said Wednesday that the two countries will expand their military cooperation, including by improving what the governments call Japan’s missile strike capabilities and making that country’s US Marine contingent more flexible for potential combat. Japan said it plans to buy hundreds of US-made Tomahawk cruise missiles. At the moment, Britain is the only ally of the United States with missiles.

While administrations in Tokyo reinterpret the meaning of decades-old constitutional restrictions on the nation’s defense forces, Mr. Kishida’s decision to pursue a counterattack capability goes beyond what even some of the most hardline members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party were willing to do. say it out

By making those commitments again in Washington, and getting the explicit support of Mr. Biden and other American officials, Mr. Kishida is keeping some of his new military pledges alive. He will now have to navigate getting the Diet, the Japanese Diet, to help implement it.

However, Japan’s move to develop its military might cause unease in South Korea, another US ally, due to long-standing anger among many Koreans over Japan’s violent occupation of the Korean peninsula in the past century. This issue continues to hamper relations between the two countries.

Under the new US deployment arrangement to Japan, those serving on Okinawa as part of the 12th Marine Regiment, an artillery unit, would switch to a more mobile group: the 12th Coastal Marine Regiment. US officials said the new formation would allow the forces to deploy more easily to other islands along the coast when needed.