Japan is progressing with plans to establish a NATO liaison office in Tokyo, according to Japan’s ambassador to the US, Koji Tomita. Speaking at an event held by the National Press Club in Washington, Tomita referred to a report by Nikkei Asia earlier this month, which stated that the US-led alliance intends to open the office – it’s first in Asia – to facilitate consultations within the region. He added that Japan is working towards achieving this partnership, although no final confirmation has been provided.
NATO has not confirmed the Nikkei report and has chosen not to comment on the details of the ongoing deliberations among NATO allies. Tomita also discussed the upcoming G7 summit, which Japan is set to host in Hiroshima from April 19 to April 21. He highlighted the summit’s primary focus on securing a closer alignment in the group’s approach towards China.
The liaison office is expected to open next year and will enable discussions with NATO’s security partners, such as South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, with geopolitical challenges from China and Russia taken into consideration. NATO Chief, Jens Stoltenberg, visited Japan in January and committed, alongside Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, to strengthen ties in response to “historic” security challenges, specifically mentioning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s growing military power, reports Channel News Asia.
In response to the Nikkei Asia report, China has expressed concerns over NATO’s “eastward expansion” and called for “high vigilance.”
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