Japan’s foreign minister vowed his country will strengthen its military to help the United States maintain regional security during a visit to a US aircraft carrier patrolling Asian waters. “Today I got to experience the frontline of national security firsthand,” Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters from the hangar deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, which was sailing in waters south of Tokyo. Japan will “significantly strengthen” its defense capabilities and work closely with the United States, he added.
Hayashi spoke amid concerns in Japan that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which it sees as an affront to international diplomatic norms, could encourage neighboring China to flex military muscle to gain control of Taiwan and the nearby Japanese islands threaten. Japan has also expressed concern about deepening security ties between Beijing and Moscow, which have included joint exercises in waters around Japan.
China has said its intentions in Asia are peaceful. Hayashi flew to the aircraft carrier from Tokyo with US Ambassador Rahm Emanuel, who warned that the invasion of Ukraine, which Russia is calling a “special operation,” poses security risks in regions far beyond Europe, including the Indo-Pacific.
The two watched the carriers’ flight operations from the deck of the Lincoln, which had just sailed from the Sea of Japan near the Korean peninsula where it was conducting naval exercises with Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force following North Korea’s recent missile launch.
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