Japan, US agree to strengthen alliance amid tougher security environment

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi pose during the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Summit in Liverpool, Britain, December 11, 2021. Olivier Douliery / Pool via REUTERS

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TOKYO, Dec.11 (Reuters) – Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday agreed on the need to strengthen their countries’ alliance in a more difficult regional security environment, said a Japanese government official.

Hayashi and Blinken held talks on the sidelines of a meeting of Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers in the English city of Liverpool.

“The ministers, in light of the increasingly severe security environment in the region, agreed that it was essential to strengthen the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-US alliance,” said the Minister. responsible during a press briefing.

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In the face of China’s growing military power and North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic programs, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday that he plans to fundamentally strengthen Japan’s defense position by examining options, including l acquisition of the ability to strike enemy bases. Read more

Hayashi and Blinken have not discussed the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, the official said.

Earlier this week, Canada joined with Australia, Britain and the United States in declaring that they would not send senior officials to the Games, citing long-standing concerns over the record of China on human rights issues, while Japan has yet to make its position clear.

Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Saturday, citing multiple sources with knowledge of the matter, that senior Japanese government officials would likely skip the Games, joining the United States and others in a diplomatic boycott. Read more

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Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka Editing by Gareth Jones, William Maclean

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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