Tokyo, Jan. 16 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, in a recent interview, expressed hopes to see the United States return to the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade framework.
The inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden may serve as an opportunity for the country to rejoin, after outgoing President Donald Trump left the TPP, Motegi suggested.
He said that he will communicate closely with the incoming Biden administration in a variety of fields, including trade.
“We have said many times that joining the TPP will be good for the United States,” the minister said.
On the other hand, he said he welcomes China and South Korea’s interest in joining the multilateral pact, but said that Japan needs to make sure that they can clear the stringent requirements for admission.
Motegi stressed Tokyo’s commitment to continued strong ties with Washington, saying that Japan will seek to boost bilateral cooperation for achieving a “free and open Indo-Pacific” as well as responding to climate change and international rule-making in the post-coronavirus era.
“It will continue to be critical for Japan and the United States to collaborate in urging (China) to act in accordance with international rules,” he said.
Motegi also said that Japan is working to achieve a summit meeting in the United States between Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Biden as soon as possible.
“I also want to hold a foreign ministers’ meeting as soon as incoming Secretary of State Antony Blinken takes office,” he added.
On Japan’s row with South Korea over the issue of wartime comfort women, who claim were forced to serve as prostitutes for Japanese troops before and during World War II, the minister said that Japan-South Korea relations are at its worst ever state, adding that Seoul must rectify its violation of international law.
He noted that Tokyo will consider all options in strongly urging an appropriate response.
On the Suga administration’s declining public approval ratings, Motegi said that it is important for the government to suggest a brighter future for citizens.