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Japan’s new envoy in Washington comments on bilateral relations 

Sunday’s Asahi and Yomiuri reported on Japanese Ambassador Tomita’s first press conference held in the U.S. capital on Friday. “I’ve been tasked with building robust relations with the new administration,” he was quoted as saying. Speaking on bilateral cooperation in dealing with China, the diplomat said: “As the Biden administration has made clear that it will deal with China in partnership with its allies, I would like to cooperate to ensure smooth policy coordination while offering Japanese input.” He added that Washington’s posture toward China remains severe.   

 

In a related story, Sunday’s Yomiuri claimed that U.S.-Japan relations have gotten off to a good start under the Biden administration, as Foreign Minister Motegi has already spoken twice over the phone with Secretary Blinken. The Japanese side is particularly pleased that the new administration is strongly committed to bilateral coordination in dealing with “China’s attempts to alter the status quo with force.” It also welcomes the Democratic administration’s policy of maintaining the Quad framework with Australia and India. While some MOFA officials say there are “no outstanding issues of mutual concern,” others are worried that Japan may be at odds with the U.S. over human rights issues, such as the “genocide” of Uyghurs in China and the military coup in Myanmar (Burma). They are concerned that the Biden administration will call on Japan and other partners to adopt sterner measures, including economic sanctions.   

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