Yomiuri led with a report saying the GOJ has decided that Japan will participate in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), speculating that Prime Minister Kishida will convey the decision to President Biden at their summit meeting on May 23 in Tokyo. The paper conjectured that Japan will seek to establish a new economic order in the region with the United States through IPEF based on the view that the United States is unlikely to return to the TPP for the time being. Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno told reporters on Wednesday that Japan welcomes IPEF as America’s proactive commitment to the Indo-Pacific region and that Tokyo was studying membership with a positive attitude.
Mainichi and Asahi ran similar reports, speculating that the two nations will take the lead in strengthening economic solidarity in the Indo-Pacific and demonstrate their commitment to counter China’s growing economic and military presence in the region. According to a GOJ source, Kishida is planning to express the view at the summit that IPEF will play an important role in achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific. However, Mainichi wrote that while calling on as many nations as possible to join the framework, the premier is also considering reiterating Japan’s wish for the United States to return to the TPP.
The papers also wrote that the South Korean government decided on Wednesday to participate in IPEF. According to the papers, President Yoon is planning to directly convey to President Biden Seoul’s decision to join the initiative at their summit meeting on May 21.