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    Japan, US to hold security talks before Kishida meets Biden

    TOKYO (AP) – Japan and the United States (US) will hold security talks between their foreign and defence ministers in Washington the day before Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida lands in the US capital next week wrapping up his tour of Group of Seven (G7) nations as Tokyo expands its military and deepen alliance with America amid China’s growing influence.

    Kishida will embark on a six-nation trip on Monday to France, Italy, Britain and Canada ahead of his January 13 summit with US President Joe Biden.

    Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada and Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi will fly to Washington to join their American counterparts Lloyd Austin and Antony Blinken for their ‘2+2’ security talks on Wednesday, just before their leaders’ summit at the White House, Japanese officials said yesterday.

    The ‘2+2’ talks are expected to focus on their new national security strategies, released by Japan in mid-December and the US in October, and how the two allies plan to tackle security concerns including China, North Korea and Russia. “We will discuss strengthening of deterrence and response capability of the Japan-US alliance as we take into consideration our new strategy documents,” Hamada told reporters.

    Hamada said yesterday that he and Austin will separately hold bilateral defence talks on Thursday to discuss details of how their militaries can expand and deepen their operations.

    Asked if they will discuss a revision to their current defence guideline based on Japan’s more defensive role, Hamada said nothing has been decided. Japan in December adopted a set of three security and defence strategy documents that break from its exclusively self-defence-only stance.

    Under the new strategies, Japan vows to build up its counterstrike capability with long-range cruise missiles that can reach potential targets in China, double its defence budget within five years and bolster the development of advanced weapons.

    Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi. PHOTO: AP
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