Now, with the Biden administration in place and with China rising more and more assertive, Japan appears extra keen to affix with the United States in its unequivocal criticism of China’s actions.
Mr. Kishi, the protection minister, stated that Japan may “absolutely not accept” China’s actions to extend tensions within the East and South China Seas, and indicated they had been violating worldwide legal guidelines.
Yet the Japanese international minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, was much less overt in criticizing China.
While Mr. Blinken explicitly singled out China — and Myanmar, the place the navy staged a coup final month — for threatening “democracy, human rights and rule of law,” Mr. Motegi prevented mentioning China instantly. He stated that he welcomed the alliance for its function in defending “peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.”
Analysts stated Japan could mood its language as a result of it has extra to lose from confrontation with China.
“One big difference is their economic relationships with China,” stated Narushige Michishita, vp of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo. “While the U.S. can live without China, Japan cannot. They have to find a common ground there.”
The high-level go to from Washington sought, partly, to remind Japan that it shares a lot widespread floor with the United States. That it was the primary official journey abroad for each Mr. Blinken and Mr. Austin since taking workplace was repeated a number of occasions on Tuesday to guarantee Japan of its worth to the Biden administration.
The alliance with Japan by no means suffered as a lot injury below the Trump administration as U.S. partnerships in Europe. Mr. Abe maintained a detailed relationship with Mr. Trump and hosted him for two visits to Japan. Last October, when then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, the 2 exchanged a fist bump that lasted 15 seconds.
On Tuesday, when Mr. Suga met with Mr. Austin and Mr. Blinken at his official residence, all of them bowed — as is the customized in Japan.
Makiko Inoue contributed reporting from Toyko, and Steven Lee Myers from Seoul.