US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 3.6

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Publications US-Japan Alliance Digest Vol 3.6

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Headlines:


Image Source: MOFA

  • At UNSC in NY, Kamikawa & Thomas-Greenfield discuss global issues
  • Preparations for Biden-Kishida “showcase” summit gather steam
  • Japan’s SDF Tomahawk cruise missile training begins with US Navy
  • Pentagon announces incoming commander of US Forces Japan
  • Champion of Japan-US ties & business titan mourned in Hokkaido

Details:

  • Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa met Representative of the US to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, in New York on the sidelines of a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) ministerial briefing on March 18. They expressed appreciation to each other for coordination on Gaza, Ukraine, North Korea, and nuclear disarmament. Relatedly, the US and Japan are sponsoring a UNSC resolution calling on nations to keep nuclear weapons out of space. The joint effort follows the White House highlighting Russia’s development of a “troubling” anti-satellite weapon capability. Kamikawa noted that even in the Cold War, there was an agreement to keep space peaceful, as the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 prohibits stationing weapons of mass destruction in space. Also, while in New York, Kamikawa participated in the fourth meeting on “WPS + Innovation,” considering opportunities and obstacles for the promotion of WPS.
  • Alliance consultations ahead of an April Biden-Kishida summit in Washington gained momentum as Deputy Secretary of State Campbell visited Tokyo from March 20 and Japan’s National Security Advisor Akiba came to Washington the following week. The summit will be something of a showcase, putting on display the wide range of existing alliance collaboration across economic, security, environmental, technological, and diplomatic areas for mutual benefit and for the common good. Some new twists will enhance the showcase, as Campbell previewed leadership attention to modernizing military command and control relationships, along with steps to increase technology cooperation with the UK and Australia, among other initiatives to be promoted. Kishida’s official visit to Washington begins April 10.
  • US sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell coached around 25 Japanese counterparts on the inner workings of Tomahawk cruise missiles and their control systems in a 5-day training session from March 25. This is the 1st round of training at Yokosuka, the 7th Fleet homeport, ahead of Japan’s receipt of 400 Tomahawk missiles starting in 2025. An advanced Tomahawk training program for the SDF is scheduled to take place in the near future.
  • The Pentagon announced on March 25 that Gen. Stephen Jost was nominated to be the new commander of US Forces Japan (USFJ) and the 5th Air Force, replacing Lt. Gen. Rupp, who has commanded since 2021. Jost, an F-16 and F-35 pilot, has done tours in Iraq, South Korea, and is currently serving at US Transport Command. When he assumes command in August, Lt. Gen. Jost will preside over an era of great change at USFJ with the activation of the US Space Force component and what could be a significant evolution for bilateral command relations with Japan.
  • People gathered in Sapporo on March 4 to mourn the passing of Yoshihiro Ito. Described as an internationalist for his ties to the US, UN, and International Olympic Committee, his influence spread beyond his professional role as chairman of Itogumi Construction. Ito is known for his leadership in establishing Portland’s Japanese Garden in 1967, as head of the America-Japan Society of Hokkaido, as a lead promotor to host the 1972 Winter Olympics, among others. Mark Wuebbels of the US consulate in Sapporo said “Ito-san has had a lasting impact on the US-Japan alliance.”

“US-Japan Alliance Digest” is a bi-weekly summary of bilateral and related developments compiled by Sasakawa USA’s “US-Japan NEXT Alliance Initiative.” To receive “Alliance Digest” via email, contact egulum@spfusa.org.

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