U.S. military command in Japan to be revamped: report

by Mar 25, 2024Featured Article, News

U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will unveil a plan next month to restructure the U.S. military command in Japan in the face of shared concerns about China, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

The plan would strengthen operational planning and military exercises between the two countries, the FT reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

It is due to be announced at the White House on April 10, when Biden is scheduled to host Kishida in a formal event that will include a lavish state dinner and a policy meeting, the newspaper said.

Japan is a close ally and a key component of the U.S. strategy toward China, North Korea and other Asian security issues.

The White House, the U.S. National Security Council and the State Department did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment. The Japanese government could not immediately be reached for comment.

Washington has strongly endorsed a major military buildup by Japan as military and security activity between the U.S. and its major Asian allies has strengthened.

More than a year ago, Japan pledged to double its defense spending to 2% of its gross domestic product and to procure missiles that can strike ships or land-based targets 1,000 km away.

Japan has recently called China’s rapidly expanding military power a “serious concern” for Japan and the international community.

Late last year Japan appointed a serving government official to act as its de facto defense attache in Taiwan, elevating security ties in a move likely to anger China, which claims the strategic island as its own.

Japan also angered China earlier this year by congratulating Taiwan’s new president-elect, Lai Ching-te.

Japan, like most countries, does not have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, a precondition for establishing diplomatic ties with China.

Even so, Tokyo has pursued closer ties with Taipei because of Japan’s proximity and historical ties to the island, its alliance with the United States – Taiwan’s most important backer – as well as recent tensions with China.

© Thomson Reuters 2024.