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Japan’s PM to meet Biden in Washington, visit other G7 allies

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Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (L) and US President Joe Biden (R) will discuss security issues and bilateral ties when the Japanese leader visits the White House on January 13./AFP
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Jan 04, 2023 - 10:38 AM

TOKYO, JAPAN — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Wednesday he would hold talks with US President Joe Biden at the White House on January 13, and would also visit other G7 allies this month.

The visit will be Kishida’s first trip to the US capital since taking office in October 2021, though he has held talks with Biden several times, including in Japan.

Japan is assuming the presidency of the G7 grouping and Kishida said he also planned to visit members France, Italy, Canada and Britain this month.

He said the meeting with Biden would be “extremely important” and demonstrate “the strengthening Japan-US alliance”.

The White House said in an earlier statement the trip would “further deepen ties between our governments, economies, and our people”.

The two leaders are expected to discuss regional security challenges, including North Korea and China, as well as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and ways to address climate change.

Kishida said he would also raise Japan’s bolstered defence policy.

Japan’s government approved a major defence policy overhaul last month, including a significant spending hike, as it warned China posed the “greatest strategic challenge ever” to its security.

In its largest defence shake-up in decades, Japan vowed to increase security spending to two percent of GDP by 2027, reshape its military command, and acquire new missiles that can strike far-flung enemy launch sites.

Before arriving in Washington, Kishida will start his diplomatic journey in Paris on January 9, followed by stops in Rome, London and Ottawa.

Kishida will host the G7 leaders summit in Hiroshima in May and wants to put achieving a world free of nuclear weapons on the international agenda.

He said he expected the G7 to reaffirm support for Ukraine but also to display “solidarity with the rest of the world” and engage the “global south” on issues such as climate change and food and energy crises.

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