All national dailies wrote that the governments of the United States and Japan are making arrangements for Secretary of State Blinken and Secretary of Defense Austin to visit Japan as early as mid-March for talks with their Japanese counterparts. The papers noted that Blinken and Austin will be the first Biden administration cabinet members to visit Japan. Yomiuri wrote that arrangements are being made for them to arrive in Japan on March 15 and hold a 2+2 meeting with Foreign Minister Motegi and Defense Minister Kishi on March 16. The paper also wrote that the United States and Japan last held a 2+2 meeting in Washington in April 2019.
The papers speculated that the U.S. and Japanese officials will confirm the importance of strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance as a deterrent force in the region in view of China’s military expansion and discuss Chinese government vessels’ intrusions into Japanese waters near the Senkaku Islands and China’s new law upgrading its coast guard to a quasi-military force. The two governments are expected to also discuss such issues as the South China Sea, Hong Kong, and human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The two nations are also planning to discuss North Korea’s nuclear programs and security cooperation in new domains including space and cyberspace. The issue of Japan’s host nation support for U.S troops may become a topic of the bilateral discussion.