On October 5, 2021, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida answered questions from reporters after having a phone conversation with US President Biden in the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo.
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Japan’s new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Tuesday that he had received a “strong” message from President Biden that the United States is committed to defending disputed East China Sea islands, the Senkaku Islands.
Kishida told reporters at the prime minister’s residence that during the telephone conversation lasting about 20 minutes on Tuesday morning, the allies also confirmed their cooperation in the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
A day ago, Kishida announced that it would hold parliamentary elections on October 31 and vowed to strengthen the country’s response to the pandemic. On Monday, lawmakers voted to elect him as the country’s new prime minister.
Kishida said: “We confirm that we will work together to strengthen the Japan-US alliance and the free and open Indo-Pacific region.” “We also confirm that we will cooperate closely on issues related to China and North Korea.”
“In particular, the President made strong comments on the U.S. commitment to defend Japan, including Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty,” Kishida added, referring to U.S. defense obligations to Japan, which covers uninhabited islands.
Japan is increasingly concerned about China’s activities in the East China Sea, including invading the waters around disputed islands (called Diaoyu Islands in China).
The 64-year-old former foreign minister Kishida announced a cabinet lineup led by allies of former prime minister Shinzo Abe and former finance minister Taro Aso.
Abe’s younger brother Nobuo Kishi and Foreign Minister Toshimatsu Motegi kept his position, reflecting Kishida’s desire to continue to push Abe to strengthen security relations with Washington while maintaining trade relations with China.
The new prime minister is also expected to deepen contacts with the United States, Australia, India and Japan-known as the “four countries”-which Beijing sees as an effort to contain its rise.
Kishida, who is from the traditionally dovish Liberal Democratic Party faction, has leaned to the right in his campaign to become the leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). This reflects the broader transformation of the Liberal Democratic Party promoted by Abe’s record long term.
Kishida has said that obtaining the ability to strike enemy bases is a controversial step supported by Abe and a viable option. He will appoint an assistant to oversee China’s treatment of Uyghur minorities. China denies allegations of abuse of power.
One of Kishida’s most concerned appointments is the new post of the Minister of Economic Security. Kishida filled this gap with a 46-year-old Harvard University Kennedy School and Tokyo University graduate Takayuki Kobayashi, who is committed to formulating policies aimed at protecting sensitive technologies in areas such as China’s supply chain and cybersecurity.
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