The ruling and opposition parties welcomed Prime Minister Kishida Fumio’s confirming the strengthening of the Japan-U.S. alliance at the summit meeting with President Joe Biden on May 23. The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) is poised to question the plan to increase defense spending, which Kishida announced at the summit.
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary-General Motegi Toshimitsu expressed appreciation for the talks, telling reporters at LDP headquarters that “it is a clear indication of the U.S.’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific region.” A top LDP official said, “[the talks] create good momentum going into the Upper House election.”
Komeito representative Yamaguchi Tsuneo told reporters, “I would like to express my appreciation for [the talks] producing a wide range of results.” Yamaguchi only remarked, “I take the Prime Minister’s remarks seriously” regarding the increase in defense spending, an issue on which Yamaguchi has maintained a negative view.
Major opposition parties except for the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) also had positive reactions. CDPJ representative Izumi Kenta said at a CDPJ meeting, “It was an important opportunity for Japan and the U.S. to demonstrate a commitment to challenge China and Russia’s attempts to change the status quo.” Izumi said he plans to call on the government to explain its stance on the necessity of increasing the defense budget and the division of roles between Japan and the U.S.
Nippon Ishin no Kai (Ishin) Secretary-General Fujita Fumitake said that “the discussion on [reinforcing Japan’s defense] should proceed quickly and transparently.” Democratic Party for the People (DFPF) representative Tamaki Yuichiro emphasized that “the DPFP would like to cooperate” to strengthen the deterrence and response of the Japan-U.S. alliance.
On the other hand, JCP chairman Shii Kazuo was critical [of enhancing defense capabilities], stating at a press conference that “a military alliance and strengthening of military capabilities will lead to a vicious cycle of military escalation.”