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Japan’s Fumio Kishida set to talk military buildup, chips on G7 tour

Japan’s Fumio Kishida set to talk military buildup, chips on G7 tour

Japan’s Fumio Kishida set to talk military buildup, chips on G7 tour

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

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  • Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida begins a tour of important Western allies.
  • He will meet with the presidents of the United States, Britain, France, Italy, and Canada.
  • The topics of discussion are anticipated to include semiconductors and economic security.
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After announcing the largest military buildup since World War Two, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida began a tour of important Western allies on Monday as Tokyo considers how to challenge China’s rising influence.

Kishida will meet with the presidents of the United States, Britain, France, Italy, and Canada this week. He will host a summit of the Group of Seven (G7) industrial nations in May. The topics of discussion are anticipated to range from semiconductors and economic security to the conflict in Ukraine and escalating tensions with nuclear-armed China and North Korea.

“As leader of the G7 chair this year, I’ll be making this visit to reaffirm our thinking on a number of issues,” Kishida told a Sunday news programme.

“With the United States, we’ll discuss deepening our bilateral alliance and how to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

After deciding last month to collaborate with those nations to construct a new jet fighter, he travels to London and Rome. According to the Yomiuri newspaper on Friday, he will sign an agreement with Britain that will create a legal framework for the two countries’ armed troops to visit one another.

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The bilateral defense accord, Japan’s aspirations to arm itself with missiles capable of striking targets in China or North Korea, and measures to restrict China’s access to advanced semiconductors are expected to be topics on Friday’s final stop at the White House.

Tokyo and Washington are hoping that the more aggressive military strategy Kishida unveiled last month—a further departure from Japan’s pacifist postwar constitution—will help bridge the country’s growing missile gap with China and dissuade Beijing from taking military action, especially against Taiwan’s neighbor.

“He’ll be going to show the U.S. that this has been concluded – and, with the G7 summit approaching, to touch base with the rest of the G7 to confirm their stances on Ukraine and Asia,” said political commentator Atsuo Ito.

A decades-old agreement that permits the United States to maintain warships, fighter fighters, and thousands of troops in Japan may need to be revised in light of Japan’s enhanced defense capabilities.

The rules, which were last updated in 2015, would probably be one of the topics discussed by the U.S. and Japanese foreign and defence ministers on Wednesday before Kishida meets President Joe Biden, a Japanese defense ministry official said during a briefing on Friday.

In the midst of escalating trade conflict with China, Japan and the United States are enhancing their cooperation on the creation of sophisticated semiconductor chips.

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Both nations are eager to make sure their manufacturers have access to materials seen to be crucial for the emerging technology-driven sectors like data storage, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing.

Fumio Kishida has stated that he supports Biden’s efforts to restrict China’s access to advanced semiconductors through export limits, but he has declined to match the broad limitations on the export of machinery used in chip fabrication that the U.S. administration imposed in October.

Kishida will be hoping that his G7 journey, even without any major announcements, will increase his waning domestic support, which has been severely damaged by cabinet resignations and a scandal involving his party’s ties to the contentious Unification Church.

“Holding a successful G7 summit would bring him maximum political points – and this trip is preparation for that,” said Airo Hino, a political science professor at Waseda University.

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