Goals set during the Japanese Prime Minister's visit to the US 0Goals set during the Japanese Prime Minister's visit to the US 0

(Dan Tri) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will pay an official visit to the US this week with a focus on holding a summit with host country President Joe Biden to upgrade the bilateral defense alliance.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (left) and US President Joe Biden shake hands at the White House in January 2023 (Illustration: Yomiuri Shimbun).

According to sources, this visit to the US by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida started on April 8 and lasted 7 days.

The visit comes at a challenging time for both leaders.

Meanwhile, President Biden is likely to face a tense reunion with former President Donald Trump next November, with predictions of a major policy change in relations with Tokyo if Mr. Trump returns.

The biggest event during Prime Minister Kishida’s week-long trip is the summit with President Biden, scheduled to take place on April 10 with the goal of further strengthening the bilateral defense alliance.

Prime Minister Kishida will also attend the first-ever summit between the leaders of the US, Japan and the Philippines in Washington to further strengthen economic and defense ties with the US, its most important ally.

The Japanese leader also wants to reach out to the American public to promote Japan’s contributions to the US economy and ensure a stable relationship, regardless of who comes to power after the presidential election.

Upgrade defense cooperation

According to sources, the overarching agenda will be security, defense and trade but security and defense cooperation will occupy a significant position.

According to experts, although the restructuring will not create a combined command like that between the US and South Korea, it will allow for more seamless information sharing and collaborative decision-making, thereby increasing efficiency.

After Japan eased defense equipment export regulations, President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida are expected to take another step in this area by discussing the establishment of a joint defense council to research

Since taking office in 2021, Prime Minister Kishida has made sweeping changes to Tokyo’s defense sector, increasing defense spending to about 2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2027 and strengthening its capabilities.

Prime Minister Kishida – who once emphasized that Japan is a partner of the US not only in Asia but also on a global scale – said that building Tokyo’s deterrence and response capabilities is also `essential` for Japan.

During this trip to the US, Mr. Kishida continued to affirm that Japan and the US are currently global partners and are trying to maintain the rules-based international order and that Tokyo is ready to take on a major international role.

Speaking to the press before the trip, Prime Minister Kishida emphasized that expanding cooperation in technology and weapons equipment between the two countries and other like-minded partners is also very important.

The main focus of this conference is the plan to modernize the bilateral military command structure so that it can operate more smoothly.

The US stations 50,000 troops in Japan.

Both also expect to have new initiatives on defense industry cooperation, including cooperation in weapons production, possibly on a new type of missile, as well as the repair and maintenance of US warships.

Japan is also likely to join the US-UK-Australia security partnership to develop and share advanced military capabilities, including artificial intelligence (AI), electronic warfare and

Tripartite summit

In addition to the summit with the US, what Mr. Kishida is interested in is the first trilateral summit between the US – Japan – Philippines, scheduled to take place on April 11.

This is a much-awaited conference in the context that both Washington and Tokyo are seeking to strengthen defense and economic relations with Manila.

Defense is at the top of the agenda during the Japanese leader’s trip because of issues arising from the wars in Ukraine and Gaza and missile tests from North Korea.

Prime Minister Kishida once warned that war in Europe could lead to conflict in East Asia.

`Cooperation between our three countries is vital to maintaining peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and protecting a free and open rules-based international order.`

US – Japan trade

Along with defense cooperation, the Japanese Prime Minister will certainly mention trade issues, of which one of the obstacles is criticism in the US regarding the Nippon Steel agreement to buy US Steel for 14.1 billion.

US Steel was once the most powerful company in the world and a symbol of America’s status as an industrial powerhouse.

Prime Minister Kishida also wants to highlight the economic contributions of Japanese companies to the world’s No. 1 economy.

Prime Minister Kishida emphasized: `It is important to demonstrate that Japan is the world’s largest investor in the US. Japanese companies are supporting jobs in the US and the potential for additional investment in the US in the future.`

Therefore, according to sources, Prime Minister Kishida will meet with business leaders and visit Toyota’s electric vehicle battery factory under construction in North Carolina, expected to launch in 2025, as well as the company.

In a speech to parliament on April 4, Mr. Kishida said he plans to convey `what Japan and America want to pass on to future generations and what we need to do for this generation of ours.`

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