German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hold the very first round of government consultations in Tokyo in an work to strengthen financial and defense ties



March 18, 2023, five:35 a.m. ET

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Scholz brought six of his ministers for talks with their Japanese counterparts on deepening financial and national safety cooperation in the Indo-Pacific area, as effectively as other international troubles, which includes China’s determination to assert its maritime territorial claims and closer ties with Russia.

“I think that the government consultation will be a springboard for even closer cooperation involving Japan and Germany,” Kishida mentioned in his opening remarks at the meeting. Kishida mentioned the concentrate of the talks was on financial safety, the Indo-Pacific area, Russia’s war against Ukraine and other prevalent issues.

Germany has a related “government consultation” framework with various nations. Of the 17 members of Scholz’s cabinet, six of them, which includes the ministers of economy, finance, foreign affairs, interior affairs, transport and defense, are traveling with him.

The two defense ministers met separately and confirmed the continued engagement of German armed forces in the Indo-Pacific area and stronger military cooperation involving the two nations.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada and his German counterpart Boris Pistorius agreed to closely coordinate the future regional deployment of the German military and step up joint workouts. They also agreed to seek a legal framework that would permit for improved joint defense activities, as effectively as cooperation in defense gear and technologies, according to a statement from the Japanese Ministry of Defense.

Japan, noting expanding threats from China and North Korea, is expanding military cooperation beyond its major ally, the United States, and has created partnerships with Australia, Britain, European and Southeast Asian nations. Kishida’s government final year adopted a new national safety tactic that sees Japan deploy lengthy-variety cruise missiles to bolster its capability to strike back, a main departure from the country’s post-war principle of self-defense.

Scholz visited Japan final year just before going to China, prioritizing Germany’s financial ties with Tokyo more than Beijing. Scholz is in favor of diversifying Germany’s trading partners, whilst speaking out against a total separation from China.

Japan, along with the United States, is hunting for strategies to counter China’s expanding financial influence in the area. Tokyo also desires to strengthen financial safety with other democracies in places such as provide chains and guarding sensitive technologies, apparently as a counter to China.

But Japan, which is America’s major ally and major trading companion with China, is in a delicate predicament and have to balance its position involving the two superpowers.

For Germany, China was the biggest trading companion in 2021 for the sixth consecutive year, as company ties flourished even as political relations became strained.


Related Press reporters Geir Moulson in Berlin, Haruka Nuga and Chisato Tanaka in Tokyo contributed to this report.

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