Next US Ambassador to Japan, Japan’s defense spending is approaching “essential to the alliance”

Next US Ambassador to Japan, Japan's defense spending is approaching "essential to the alliance"
Emmanuel attending a hearing of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Mr. Rahm Emanuel (61), who was nominated by US President Joe Biden as the next ambassador to Japan, attended a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the 20th. Japan’s increased defense spending is “essential to the alliance,” he said. The aim is to urge the Japanese government to take concrete measures to strengthen its defense capabilities in order to increase its deterrence against China, which is moving to strengthen its military capabilities.

The main theme of the hearing was dealing with China. He touched on the “Quad” framework of Japan, the United States, Australia and India, saying, “(The four countries) are facing strategic and military threats from China. It is the foundation of the US economic and security interests in the region.” I chanted.

He also mentioned that the Liberal Democratic Party has stated in its House of Representatives election promise that it will “aim to increase defense spending by 2% or more,” which had been set at 1% or less of the gross domestic product (GDP).

“We’re trying to go from 1% to 2% because we’ve changed our mindset,” Emmanuel said. “It reflects Japan’s greater role and greater threat,” he said. “It is essential to Japan’s security and our alliance.”

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated during the presidential election that he should not be bound by numbers such as 1%. “This is the first time,” Emmanuel said. “The friendship and partnership between Japan and the United States is at a turning point.”

What can be read from the series of remarks is the expectation of the US government to expand the role of the Self-Defense Forces in deterring China. “Japan has decided to strengthen its defense capabilities,” he said in a joint statement compiled at the Japan-US summit meeting in April. China is rapidly strengthening its armaments, and the challenge is to expand the equipment that is indispensable for cooperation with the US military, such as missile response and remote island defense.

Former Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns (65), who was appointed as the next ambassador to China, also attended the hearing on the 20th. He touched on China’s military intimidation on Taiwan and said, “The threat is unjustified and must be stopped. Especially, recent actions against Taiwan are not desirable.”

Mr. Emmanuel repeatedly complained about the worst postwar relationship between Japan and South Korea, repeating the need for allies to unite. With the comfort women issue in mind, he said, “The challenges of the 20th century should not be deprived of the opportunities of the 21st century,” and urged that we should concentrate on the real threat. Mr. Biden has long taken the position that Japan, the United States and South Korea should work together to deal with China and North Korea.

The strategic value of Japan, a geographically close ally to China, which the Biden administration positions as “the only competitor,” is increasing. It is also a proof that he has served as a former White House Chief of Staff and is trying to send “big guys” with pipes to the White House and Congress.

“The top priority is to tackle common challenges and deepen this relationship.” Mr. Emmanuel who said this. If the ambassador’s appointment is approved by the Senate, Japan may be faced with a difficult response.

Also Read: Approval of the next US Ambassador to Japan, cautious discussion on the Democratic Left

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