Japanese PM weighs in on NATO membership — RT World News
Fumio Kishida has confirmed that the US-led military bloc plans to open a liaison office in Japan
Japan has no intention of joining NATO, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has said.
He told the national parliament on Wednesday that Tokyo would not join the US-led military bloc in any form, according to Reuters.
Earlier this month, Japan’s Ambassador to the United States, Koji Tomita, told Nikkei Asia that Japan was “functioning” towards the opening of a NATO liaison office in Tokyo, which would become the bloc’s first in Asia.
The same outlet had previously reported that the mission, which is due to open next year, would aim to facilitate NATO consultations with Japan and its other Asia-Pacific allies, such as Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, in light of geopolitical challenges posed by China and Russia.
Kishida confirmed to MPs that NATO was considering the possibility of establishing a liaison office in the country. However, he added that he was “not aware of a decision made” within the mission block.
The alliance recently openly admitted its interests in the Indo-Pacific. Last June, the region’s bloc allies took part in a NATO summit for the first time. Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea have also been invited to the event this year. The 2023 summit will take place in Vilnius, Lithuania on July 11-12.
Russia, which strongly opposes NATO expansion in Eastern Europe, has criticized the bloc’s attempts to expand its activities in Asia. In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin said efforts by the United States and its allies to create what he called a “World NATO” resembled the actions of Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan in the 1930s before the outbreak of World War II.
China has also urged its Asian neighbors to exercise “high vigilance” in response to reports that NATO was planning to open its first liaison office in the region. Such a gesture “will inevitably undermine regional peace and stability and stir up confrontation between the camps”, Beijing warned, adding that the Asia-Pacific region was “not a battleground for geopolitical competition.”