Japan, U.S. to boost cooperation amid mounting security concerns in Indo-Pacific region

U.S. President Biden met virtually January 21 with Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan to highlight the strength of the U.S.-Japan relationship and to advance the shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, which is critical to the lives of the American and Japanese peoples. President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida agreed that the U.S.-Japan Alliance has never been stronger or more necessary.

Biden commended Kishida’s strong commitment to the U.S.-Japan Alliance, and his determination to fundamentally strengthen Japan’s defense capabilities to reinforce deterrence against common threats. Biden also welcomed Kishida’s intent to revise Japan’s National Security Strategy and other key guiding documents. 

In particular, Biden welcomed Kishida’s decision to increase spending on defense, and underscored the importance of sustaining these vital investments over time. 

As Indo-Pacific powers, the United States and Japan are united in shared purpose to sustain and enhance their commitment to the region. The two leaders resolved to push back against the People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea and South China Sea; underscored the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues; they shared concern about PRC practices in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. 

Biden resolutely affirmed that Article V of the Mutual Security Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands, and affirmed the United States’ unwavering commitment to the defense of Japan, using its full range of capabilities. 

The two leaders condemned the recent ballistic missile launches by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which are in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. Toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, both leaders committed to maintain close coordination on DPRK issues moving forward, in lockstep with the Republic of Korea (ROK). The President also expressed support for the immediate resolution of the abductions issue.

Biden and Kishida affirmed the importance of close cooperation among the United States, Japan, and the ROK in addressing common challenges, and underscored the imperative of a strong trilateral relationship between Japan, the United States, and the ROK, on security and more broadly.

The two leaders remain committed to working closely with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. They reaffirmed their support for ASEAN centrality and resolved to strengthen cooperation in Southeast Asia. 

The two leaders highlighted the importance of the Quad – Australia, Japan, India, and the United States – as a critical forum for promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

The two leaders resolved to enhance economic ties between the United States and Japan. Noting the progress made under the Competitiveness and Resilience (CoRe) Partnership announced in April 2021, they established a new ministerial-level Economic Policy Consultative Committee (the Economic “2+2”), to track and drive economic cooperation and to strengthen the rules-based economic order in the Indo-Pacific region and the world. 

The two leaders affirmed the importance of U.S. economic leadership in the Indo-Pacific, which Biden is committed to intensify. To that end, Kishida expressed strong support for Biden’s proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, and pledged to work closely with the United States to build support for the initiative in the region. 

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