TOKYO — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held the very first round of government consultations in Tokyo on Saturday in an work to strengthen financial and defense ties in a worldwide landscape dominated by China’s increasing influence and the war in Ukraine.

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 worldwide challenges, 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 in between 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 popular issues.

Germany has a related “government consultation” framework with quite a few 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 in between 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 elevated joint defense activities, as effectively as cooperation in defense gear and technologies, according to a statement from the Japanese Ministry of Defense.

Japan, noting increasing threats from China and North Korea, is expanding military cooperation beyond its key 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 method that sees Japan deploy extended-variety cruise missiles to bolster its potential to strike back, a key 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, although speaking out against a comprehensive separation from China.

Japan, along with the United States, is searching for techniques to counter China’s increasing financial influence in the area. Tokyo also desires to strengthen financial safety with other democracies in regions such as provide chains and defending sensitive technologies, apparently as a counter to China.

But Japan, which is America’s key ally and key trading companion with China, is in a delicate scenario and will have to balance its position in between the two superpowers.

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


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

By Editor