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JAPAN

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has stated that he will seek to travel to the United States 'at the first possible opportunity' to meet with President Biden. Kishida stated that he wants to 'discuss ways to deepen the US-Japan relationship'.

  • Kishida's apparent keenness to visit the US comes as he makes the most important changes to his Cabinet during his short tenure as PM so far.
  • Education minister Yoshimasa Hayashi takes over from Toshimitsu Motegi at the foreign ministry, while former defence chief Gen Nakatani comes in as the PM's special advisor on human rights.
  • Hayashi hails from the same liberal, dovish faction of the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as Kishida. Replacing the hawkish Motegi with Hayashi could be viewed as a signal that the Japanese gov't will seek to take a less combative line with Beijing than was the case during the Abe and Suga eras.
  • However, Nakatani has long been at the forefront of Japan's efforts to expose alleged human rights abuses in China, and his senior position is likely intended to signal to hawks within the LDP that even with Hayashi's appointment, the Kishida gov't will not take a soft line on China.
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-0981 | tom.lake@marketnews.com

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