NATIONAL NEWS

In Tokyo, Harris calls US-Japan alliance ‘a cornerstone’

Sep 26, 2022, 9:05 PM | Updated: Oct 4, 2022, 11:23 am

TOKYO, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 26: Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (R) greets U.S. Vice President Ka...

TOKYO, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 26: Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (R) greets U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on September 26, 2022 at the Akasaka State Guest House in Tokyo, Japan. Dignitaries including several current and former heads of state are visiting Japan for the state funeral of former prime minister Shinzo Abe, which will be held on Tuesday. Abe was assassinated in July while campaigning on a street. (Photo by David Mareuil/Pool/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Mareuil/Pool/Getty Images)

TOKYO (AP) — U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida shortly after arriving in Tokyo for the state funeral of assassinated former leader Shinzo Abe.

Abe, a former prime minister who was assassinated in July, will be honored on Tuesday, and Harris is leading a U.S. delegation to pay its respects.

“The alliance between Japan and the United States is a cornerstone of what we believe is integral to peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” she said Monday at the Akasaka Palace.

Kishida said Abe “poured his heart and soul” into strengthening ties between their two countries.

“I feel it is my duty to carry on his aspirations,” Kishida said.

Abe forged closer ties with the United States at a time of increased concern about China’s ambitions, and Kishida is continuing his push for a stronger national defense.

The potential for war over Taiwan, a self-governed island that China claims as part of its own territory, has troubled Japan, which would likely be pulled into such a conflict.

President Joe Biden said recently that the U.S. would send its own troops to defend Taiwan if China attacked.

“The president has addressed that issue. And if it comes up, the vice president will align with the president,” said a senior administration official, who requested anonymity to discuss a private meeting.

The official also said Harris would “make clear our ironclad commitment to Japan’s security.” More than 50,000 U.S. troops are based there.

Harris on Thursday will visit South Korea and its Prime Minister Han Duck-soo during a meeting early Tuesday said Harris will make a trip to the Demilitarized Zone, the border area with North Korea that is jointly controlled by the American-led United Nations Command and North Korea.

A White House official, speaking on the condition on anonymity, confirmed that Harris will tour sites at the DMZ and visit with troops there to demonstrate that the U.S. commitment to South Korea’s defense is “ironclad.”

Her visit, the first by a ranking U.S. official since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went to the DMZ in August, will come the same week North Korea test-fired a short-range ballistic missile in apparent response to joint military exercises between the U.S. and Korea. Harris will be the highest-level American to go to the DMZ since former President Donald Trump visited in 2019 for a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Harris, who is scheduled to spend three nights in Tokyo, is visiting Japan at a politically fraught moment. Kishida’s decision to hold a state funeral for Abe, a conservative nationalist, has been controversial in a country where such memorials are uncommon, and some oppose honoring him in this way.

Kishida is also pushing for a dramatic expansion of defense spending that would give Japan the world’s third-largest military budget in the coming years, after the United States and China. A new national security strategy, the first in almost a decade, is in the works as well.

The debate is playing out as Japan reevaluates the risk of war after the shock of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, said Christopher Johnstone, senior adviser and Japan chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The fighting in Europe is a reminder that “conflict really is possible,” he said, and “Japan lives in a pretty difficult neighborhood.”

Japan is upgrading missiles and considering using them for preemptive strikes — a move critics say would fundamentally change the country’s defense policy and breach the postwar pacifist constitution that limits use of force to self-defense.

It has also shifted its defense from the northeast to southwestern Japan, including Okinawa and other remote islands.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Louisville emergency crews rescue the driver of semitruck that is dangling off the Clark Memorial B...

Associated Press

Truck driver pulled to safety after crash leaves vehicle dangling over bridge across Ohio River

The driver of a semi-truck was pulled to safety Friday by firefighters following a crash that left the vehicle dangling over a bridge across the Ohio River.

2 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks during a Get Out the Vot...

Mark Sherman

Supreme Court restores Trump to ballot, rejecting state attempts to ban him over Capitol attack

The Supreme Court has restored Donald Trump to 2024 presidential primary ballots, rejecting state attempts to hold the Republican former president accountable for the Capitol riot.

3 hours ago

FILE: A JetBlue Airlines plane takes off near Spirit Airlines planes at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywo...

Michelle Chapman, AP Business Writer

JetBlue, Spirit ending $3.8B deal to combine after court ruling blocked their merger

JetBlue and Spirit Airlines are ending their proposed $3.8 billion combination after a court ruling blocked their merger.

4 hours ago

An Interstate 80 entrance is covered in snow during a powerful multiple day winter storm in the Sie...

Brooke Hess and Christopher Weber

More mountain snow expected even as powerful blizzard moves out of Northern California

A powerful blizzard that closed highways and ski resorts had mostly moved through the Sierra Nevada but forecasters warn that more snow was on the way for Northern California mountains.

5 hours ago

Tia Champion and her husband Tim help Angie Hodges (L) search for items in the remains of her home ...

Valerie Gonzalez

Texas struggles to contain wildfires as wind threatens to further their spread

Strong winds spread flames and led to a town's evacuation while airplanes dropped fire retardant in an attempt to stop the largest wildfire in Texas history.

5 hours ago

Pedestrians cross the street at the intersection of Washington and 5th in Hoboken, N.J., Thursday, ...

Jeff McMurray, The Associated Press

A New Jersey city that limited street parking hasn’t had a traffic death in 7 years

Street parking was already scarce in Hoboken, New Jersey, when the death of an elderly pedestrian spurred city leaders to remove even more spaces in a bid to end traffic fatalities.

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

In Tokyo, Harris calls US-Japan alliance ‘a cornerstone’