Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed on Saturday on the need to strengthen their countries’ alliance amid a tougher regional security environment, a Japanese government official said.
Hayashi and Blinken held talks on the sidelines of a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) in Liverpool, England.
“In the face of the increasingly difficult security environment in the region, ministers agreed that strengthening the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-US alliance is vital,” the official said in a media briefing.
In light of China’s military build-up and North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday he plans to fundamentally strengthen Japan’s defense position by examining options such as acquiring the ability to attack enemy bases.
Hayashi and Blinken had not discussed the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, the official said.
Earlier this week Canada, along with Australia, Britain and the United States, said they would not send top officials to the Games, citing long-standing concerns over China’s human rights record, while Japan has yet to be clear about its position.
Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported Saturday, citing several sources familiar with the matter, that senior Japanese government officials are likely to skip the Games and join the United States and others in a diplomatic boycott.