Japan won’t join NATO – PM Kishida

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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says the country had no plans to become a NATO member but acknowledged the security alliance’s plan to open a liaison office in Japan.

Kishida’s comments came after the Japanese ambassador to the United States, Koji Tomita, earlier this month said that the U.S.-led military pact was planning a Tokyo office, the first in Asia, to facilitate consultations in the region.

“I am not aware of any decision made” at NATO regarding the establishment of the office, Kishida told a Wednesday parliament session, adding his country was not planning to join NATO as a member or semi-member state.

Tomita made the comment at an event hosted by the National Press Club in Washington when asked about a report in the Nikkei Asia this month saying that the U.S.-led alliance was planning to open such an office, its first in Asia, to facilitate consultations in the region.

“The point you mentioned is one of the things that we are working on to strengthen our partnership. But I really haven’t heard any final confirmation of that, but we are working in that direction,” he said.

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NATO has not confirmed the Nikkei report, saying it would not go into details of NATO allies’ ongoing deliberations.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg visited Japan in January and pledged with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to strengthen ties in the face off “historic” security challenges, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s rising military power.

After the Nikkei Asia report, China said “high vigilance” was needed in the face of NATO’s “eastward expansion.”


Zainab Sa’id

Source Reuters
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