World is at historic turning point: Japan

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CNN :
Spiraling geopolitical tensions have pushed the world to a “historic turning point” and are forcing Japan to change its defense posture, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told CNN Sunday ahead of a closely watched summit with US President Joe Biden next week.
“As we are witnessing Russia’s Ukraine aggression, the continuing situation over the Middle East, as well as the situation in East Asia, we are faced with a historic turning point,” Kishida said during an interview at his private residence in Tokyo.
“That is why Japan has made a decision to fundamentally reinforce its defense capabilities and we have greatly changed Japan’s security policy on these fronts,” he said.
In the face of mounting security challenges, the prime minister stressed, the Japan-United States alliance is becoming “ever more important,” a view he said he hoped would garner bipartisan support in Washington.
Kishida made the remarks days ahead of his Wednesday meeting with Biden in Washington, where he will also address a joint session of Congress and participate in the very first trilateral summit between Japan, the United States and the Philippines. The Kishida-Biden summit has been characterized by Washington as a historic opportunity for the two countries to modernize their alliance as both eye regional threats from North Korea’s weapons testing and burgeoning relations with Russia to China’s aggression in the South China Sea and toward Taiwan.
Partnership with Japan has long been central to US strategy in the Indo-Pacific, but the defense relationship has expanded under Kishida, who has raised Japan’s profile in global and regional security.
Since coming to office in 2021, the prime minister has overseen a sweeping shift in Tokyo’s defense posture, veering away from the pacifist constitution imposed on it by the United States in the aftermath of World War II, to boost defense spending to about 2% of its GDP by 2027 and acquire counterstrike capabilities.
That move is not without controversy, especially in China and other parts of Asia that suffered hugely under Japan’s World War II era militarism.
When asked about that shift, Kishida pointed to the “severe and complex” security environment surrounding his East Asian nation, the world’s fourth-largest economy.
“In our neighborhood, there are countries that are developing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons, and others that are building up their defense capabilities in an opaque way. Also, there is a unilateral attempt to change the status quo, by force, in both the East China Sea and South China Sea,” he said, in an apparent reference to Chinese maritime aggression related to territorial disputes with both the Philippines and Japan.

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