BALTIMORE –U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), chair and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on State Department and USAID Operations, today released the following joint statement after the Japanese government released three revised national security documents—the National Security Strategy, National Defense Program Guidelines and the Medium-Term Defense Force Buildup Program—as it also advances plans to double Japan’s defense spending over the next five years and advance other initiatives to strengthen the U.S.-Japan Alliance:
“In an era when China’s threats to the Free and Open Indo-Pacific are growing, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida’s government is taking bold and necessary steps to increase defense spending to two percent of gross domestic product, modernize the country’s national security strategy and defense policy guidance to meet common challenges in the 21st century, and thereby continuing the advancement of the U.S.-Japan Alliance—one of the strongest strategic alliances in the world.
“Washington should engage Tokyo to leverage fully increased defense investments and deploy—as quickly as possible—new capabilities that are mobile, lethal and interoperable. In particular, our two nations must cooperate closely to reform and modernize both of our military procurement and acquisition processes in order to field critical defense capabilities more efficiently and effectively. Moreover, our two nations should further enhance joint training exercises to achieve a decisive multiplier effect in a region that is increasingly militarily contested.
“At the same time, the United States and Japan must continue deepening economic and technological partnership, especially in strategic sectors like their semiconductors, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, next-generation telecommunications and financial networks, critical minerals, and infrastructure development with Allies and partners.
“As vibrant democracies and advanced industrial nations, the United States and Japan have profound opportunities to lead together in the 21st century and advance security, prosperity, and human dignity in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world. We must seize these opportunities now.”
In April 2022, Cardin and Hagerty, along with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), led the first congressional delegation to Japan since the pandemic began and met with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and top officials, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other influential parliamentarians, and titans of Japanese industry to further strengthen the strong alliance between the U.S. and Japan, as well as discuss key issues facing our two countries.
After former Prime Minister Abe’s tragic assassination in July, Hagerty and Cardin introduced a Senate resolution honoring Shinzo Abe, which was approved by the Senate unanimously.