Since Japan will hold the Presidency of the Group of Seven (G7) Summit, which will take place in Hiroshima in May 2023, Japanese Prime Minister Fumiyo Kishida met with the leaders of the G7 member countries. Within the scope of the trip, which took place between 9-13 January, Kishida visited France, Italy and the United Kingdom in Europe, and Canada and the United States of America (USA) in North America. Kishida left the talks with many gains for Tokyo.
The first of Japan’s gains was in the field of security. Kishida, who first met with French President Emmanuel Macron, agreed to increase cooperation on the security front and to hold “2+2” security talks between diplomatic and defense chiefs.
Similarly, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have agreed to expand their defense cooperation with Japan. In recent years, Japan has tended to increase its security measures in the Asia-Pacific Region due to the threat perceptions centered on China and North Korea. Increasing its defense expenditures and modernizing its army in domestic politics, Japan is trying to gain international support by expanding its defense partners in foreign policy.
Within the framework of security measures, the agreement between Japan and the USA to cooperate in space is also an issue that the Tokyo administration leaves the table with profit. Japan, which does not have a long experience in the space industry, has been in close contact with the USA, which is more experienced in this field and considered as the space giant in the 21st century. The space studies carried out by Japan with the USA have progressed towards the use of space for civilian purposes, especially scientific research. However, the conclusion of a security-based space agreement between the parties in the last meeting is an expression of Japan’s leaving from the civil space policy it has followed so far due to regional security concerns.
In addition to security, Kishida gathered support for Ukraine during the negotiations, demonstrating the value he attaches to human rights and international law, and thus succeeded in gaining the tolerance of the international public. Kishida conveyed to G7 partners that strict sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine will be strengthened and strong support for Ukraine will be continued with determination. Besides, Kishida’s words “East Asia could be next Ukraine” point to the high of Japan’s threat perception.
Energy security is another area that Kishida has gain. When the energy outlook of Japan is analyzed, it is seen that liquefied natural gas (LNG) ranks first in energy consumption with 31,7%. In fact, in 2022, Japan broke new ground in its history as the world’s largest LNG importer. Russia ranks first in Japan’s LNG imports with a rate of approximately 10%. Japan, which is highly dependent on Russia for LNG purchase, wants to reduce this dependency and ensure energy security by establishing different energy partnerships. In this regard, Kishida asked the USA and Canada to assist Japan in LNG. He stated that LNG from the USA and Canada and their cooperation for clean energy will play an important role in Japan’s energy security.
It is seen that Japanese Prime Minister Kishida has also made gains in the field of economy and trade within the framework of his visits. In particular, the USA and Canada expressed their desire to strengthen economic ties with Japan. Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau announced that there will be mutual visits between the delegations in 2023. The USA, on the other hand, underlined the importance of close economic relations between the USA and Japan in such a period, drawing attention to the difficulty of maintaining the global supply chain safely due to the problems caused by the Russia-Ukraine War and technology trade with China. Japan, the world’s 3rd largest economy, attaches importance to the strengthening of its economic and commercial ties with the world’s largest economy, the USA, for the continuity of its economic security and the sustainability of its country’s development at a time of global difficulties.
As a result, Japan sees the G7 Presidency as an opportunity to improve its relations with the G7 countries. At this point, although it highlights security-based cooperation, it can be stated that Tokyo’s aim is to develop its relations with its allies in a multidimensional way.
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