NTV’s evening news program “News Zero” reported on its one-on-one interview with visiting Secretary of State Blinken, describing him as a musician, the top U.S. diplomat, and a key person in U.S. relations with China. The network said the Secretary stressed the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance and solidarity in order to approach China “from a position of strength.” When asked about the “burdens” that need to be borne together, the Secretary said: “When it comes to the defense of our people, our values, and our interest, there is a burden that comes with that. That is an investment that we have to make in resources, including human resources, to stand up for our interest and our values.” The network interpreted this to mean that the Secretary was requesting that the Japanese Self-Defense Forces be expanded.
As for the soured relations between Japan and South Korea, Secretary Blinken stressed the importance of both Japan and South Korea working “closely together even as they work through any remaining issue of history.” On North Korea, the Secretary said the U.S. and Japan “are in lockstep when it comes to the importance of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, when it comes to dealing as well with North Korea’s nuclear, missile programs.” While showing that the Secretary was wearing a blue ribbon badge representing the wish to bring home the Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea, the network said the Secretary said he will raise the abduction issue when he has a chance to talk with North Korea. Lastly, the interviewer took up the Secretary’s remarks calling for “investment” in the security sector, surmising that what the U.S. expects from Japan is not only its purchase of U.S. weapons but also its expansion of the Self–Defense Forces to counter China. NTV also carried similar reports in its early evening news program “news every” on Wednesday.