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Ambassador-nominee Emanuel stresses strengthened alliance with Japan 

Yomiuri and Asahi wrote that former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has been nominated by President Biden as the next U.S. Ambassador to Japan, said in a written statement submitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee ahead of his hearing on Wednesday that the U.S.-Japan partnership is the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in a free and open Indo-Pacific and that if confirmed, his top priority would be to deepen the ties between the United States and Japan while the two nations confront their common challenges. 

 

Kyodo News reported that Ambassador-nominee Emanuel vowed on Wednesday to work to enhance ties between the United States and Japan as China seeks to “conquer through division,” while signaling expectations for a possible drastic increase in Japan’s defense spending. Kyodo quoted him as saying: “China aims to conquer through division. America’s strategy is security through unity. That regional unity is built on the shoulders of the U.S.-Japan alliance.”  

 

Kyodo also said Emanuel welcomed Prime Minister Kishida’s support for boosting Japan’s defense budget, which the country has kept at around 1% of its GDP. “Willing to go from 1% to 2% is a sea change in thinking,” Emanuel told senators, adding it would be a “reflection that they know they have a greater role to play and they have greater threats.” He also said U.S.-Japan cooperation not only in the military realm but also in areas such as climate change, infrastructure investment, and intellectual property protection would send a signal to China that America is “strong because of our allies and our unity.” China’s strategy in its dealings around the world is to ensure a “one-way road to Beijing’s benefit,” Emanuel said. He added that anything challenging a safe, open and values-based international system “must be met with the united force of all our allies and friends in the region.” 

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