World President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida...

President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida meet for U.S.-Japan summit

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Jan. 13 (BP) — U.S. President Joe Biden is meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the White House Friday to “further deepen” U.S.-Japanese ties, according to the White House.

Biden is scheduled to welcome Kishida Friday morning and hold a bilateral meeting at 11:15 before participating in a working lunch at 11:45 a.m as they will work to “lay the groundwork for renewed cooperation this year,” according to the White House.

“Over the past year, the two leaders have worked closely together to modernize the U.S.-Japan Alliance, expand our cooperation on key issues from climate change to critical technologies including through the Quad, and advance a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the White House said.

Also likely to be discussed are Russia’s war on Ukraine and North Korea ballistic missile programs as well as Taiwan.

The meeting comes after Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosted so-called 2+2 talks, Wednesday at the State Department in Washington, D.C. with Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and Japanese Defense Minister Hamada Yasukasu to reaffirm the U.S.-Japan alliance.

Following the meeting, theU.S. and Japanese leaders announced a series of initiatives to strengthen their “cornerstone” alliance to keep the Indo-Pacific “free and open.”

Japan’s Foreign Ministry said Kishida also met with French, Italian, Canadian and British leaders this month “to further collaboration between like-minded countries by deepening security cooperation with these countries which have been strengthening interest and engagement in the Indo-Pacific.”

Japan has made military policy changes to strengthen its security that loosens some of the post-World War II limits on its military.

The strategy changes were outlined in a December “National Security Strategy of Japan” document.

“The free, open, and stable international order, which expanded worldwide in the post-Cold War era, is now at stake with serious challenges amidst historical changes in power balances and intensifying geopolitical competitions,” the document said. “Guided by their own historical views and values, some nations, not sharing universal values, are making attempts to revise the existing international order.”

As a result, Japan said in the document that it must reinforce its defense capabilities. Japan is increasing defense spending over the next five years to $313 billion to protect against threats from China, North Korea and Russia.

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