WASHINGTON – Emerging Japanese politician Shinjiro Koizumi called Friday for a deepening of the alliance between Tokyo and Washington while expressing his commitment to reforms that will help his country cope with its rapidly aging population.
“I am absolutely convinced that Japan will remain a reliable partner for the United States and for the world,” Koizumi, a lawmaker from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said in a speech in Washington.
With the rise of China leading to a shift in the regional balance, Koizumi said there will be room for further collaboration between Japan and other democratic countries in the Indo-Pacific such as the United States, India and Indonesia.
“Japan should engage more with the world and play a more significant role on the international stage,” he told the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.
“Shifting geopolitical dynamics now, more so than ever, put Japan and the United States in the same boat, both politically and economically.”
A younger son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the 38-year-old is seen as a potential future prime minister. The younger Koizumi studied at Columbia University and served as a fellow at CSIS.
Despite the nation’s declining population, the Japanese market “has been expanding significantly in recent years,” Koizumi said, citing the enforcement of a revised Trans-Pacific Partnership, an 11-member free trade agreement, and an FTA between Japan and the European Union.
He also voiced confidence that Japan will further increase exports of agricultural products, given a rising demand for healthy Japanese farm produce abroad.
Citing “new frontier,” a term used by former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, Koizumi said Japan is “at the edge of a new frontier” with its shrinking population and 100-year life expectancy, and he pledged to help Japan thrive in future by advancing social security and employment reforms.
“Just like President Kennedy, I am also determined to do everything I can to inspire the Japanese people to undertake all reforms necessary for our survival,” Koizumi said.
“The guiding principle for Japan’s future should be its engagement with the world and its reinvention,” he said.