Sankei took up a statement released by the State Department concerning the launch of a new cabinet in Japan, quoting it as saying: “We expect we will sustain and deepen our close cooperation with the Government of Japan across the range of regional and global issues. U.S.-Japan relations and our alliance are stronger than ever, and we look forward to strengthening our cooperative efforts to ensure peace and prosperity in Asia and around the world.” The daily cited an unnamed retired U.S. diplomat familiar with Japan as welcoming the appointment of Kono as defense chief. China was also reportedly pleased that Kono has remained in the cabinet, with its Foreign Ministry spokesperson saying yesterday that Beijing appreciates his “considerable efforts” towards the development of Sino-Japanese relations as foreign minister.
Meanwhile, other papers focused on the ROK’s negative reaction to the new cabinet lineup on account of the presence of a large number of ministers who are ideologically close to the prime minister. The South Korean media reportedly voiced apprehension that the Abe administration may take an even harder line toward the Moon administration on the diplomatic and defense fronts under the stewardship of Motegi and Kono.