Tokyo Shimbun reprinted a Kyodo report saying that former Prime Minister Abe attended a panel discussion in Tokyo on Wednesday along with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Emanuel and renewed his call on the Kishida administration to increase Japan’s defense budget in keeping with its commitment to strengthening the U.S.-Japan Alliance. Referring to Prime Minister Kishida’s statement to President Biden in Tokyo last month that Japan will “substantially increase” its defense spending, Abe reportedly said that Tokyo should demonstrate its efforts to uphold its commitment. With China’s military buildup in mind, Abe stated that strengthening the U.S.-Japan Alliance will lead to the peace and stability of Japan and the Indo-Pacific. The former prime minister reportedly reiterated his call for the government to increase the nation’s defense spending to 2% of its GDP by saying the amount is very important.