July 21, 2024

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Strengthening US-Japan relations against threats from Ukraine, China and North Korea

Strengthening US-Japan relations against threats from Ukraine, China and North Korea

InternationalApr 11 '24 at 10:39Changed Apr 11 '24 at 11:05Author of the book: Lotte Van Gooverden

The US and Japan have decided to further strengthen their defense cooperation. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has met US President Joe Biden. Today is the last day of a state visit focused mainly on concerns about China's control of the South China Sea and its use of threatening language toward Taiwan.

Strengthening US-Japan relations against threats from Ukraine, China and North Korea

Japan expert Radboud Mollijn says that defense ties are being strengthened in various ways. 'Detailed agreements have been signed. This ranges from Japanese companies repairing ships in the US Seventh Fleet to jointly developing new weapons and sharing intelligence.' “Especially given the threats from Ukraine, China and North Korea,” Molijn sees strengthening U.S.-Japan relations as “huge.”

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Increase Japan's defense budget

Also, Japan recently decided to increase its defense budget by 100 percent, which will result in defense spending of 2 percent of GDP in a few years. “This is significant because it runs parallel to the NATO budgets. In that way, Japan will indirectly become a NATO member state,” says Molijn. According to the Japan expert, Japan's increased defense spending is a response to concerns about China's activities, particularly in the South China Sea. 'China claims large areas vital to Japan's energy and food supply.'

'Japan almost implicitly becomes a NATO member'

Radboud Molijn, Japan specialist

The US has previously pledged to provide Japan with a kind of nuclear umbrella, meaning it would protect Japan in the event of an attack. “This commitment extends to the Senkaku Islands, which today are administered by Japan but claimed by China,” Molijn said. But Japan also gives something in return, the Japan watchdog insists. 'The country, for example, provides valuable expertise and manufacturing capacity in the defense sector.'

Speech Congress

Today Prime Minister Kishida addresses the US Congress as the second Japanese Prime Minister. “He will address three important topics: the rule of law, security and Japan's role as a global partner,” emphasizes Molijn. This means that Japan is not only focused on its own interests, but is also willing to contribute to the resolution of conflicts elsewhere in the world. Molijn also thinks this is a way for Kishida to get support from Congress, saying 'Trump needs to be president again, nothing is certain anymore'.

The US has previously pledged to provide a kind of nuclear umbrella over Japan, meaning they would defend Japan in the event of an attack. (ANP/AFP)
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