The U.S. ambassador to Japan is excited for the country to broadly build out its own defensive infrastructure.
Ambassador Rahm Emanuel praised Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s commitment to bolstering the island nation’s defenses Wednesday at a public discussion in Tokyo, according to the Japan Times.
Emanuel, speaking on a panel with former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, applauded the current administration’s steps toward defensive independence.
The ambassador went on to promise that Washington would be an “everlasting Pacific presence and energy” as growing concerns of Chinese aggression toward Taiwan remain.
Japan has begun taking seriously calls for it to raise a traditional, standing military in the face of foreign threats. Currently, the Japanese Constitution explicitly forbids the nation from wielding a military, and allows only for the garrison of a small Self-Defense Force.
LDP officials have been pushing for a vote to overturn this constitutional clause for decades. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has heightened international tensions, making Japan more open to a military than ever before.
An April proposal will allot approximately 2% of the national GDP to defense – a record high for the pacifist country.
The Chinese Communist Party aired a video last year in which it warned Japan of a nuclear response and “full-scale war” if the island nation interferes in China’s handling of Taiwan.
“We will use nuclear bombs first,” the video said. “We will use nuclear bombs continuously. We will do this until Japan declares unconditional surrender for the second time.”
Japanese and U.S. forces have conducted a joint fighter jet flight over the Sea of Japan, Japan’s military said Thursday, in an apparent response to a Russia-China joint bomber flight while President Biden was in Tokyo.
The Japan-U.S. joint flight on Wednesday involved eight warplanes based in Japan, including four U.S. F-16 fighters and four Japanese F-15s, the Joint Staff of the Japan Self-Defense Forces said.