Source: Robert Besser

TOKYO, Japan: While visiting a U.S. aircraft carrier patrolling Asian waters, Japanese foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi promised that his country would create a stronger military to help the U.S. maintain regional security.

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On the hangar deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, sailing in waters south of Tokyo, Hayashi told reporters, “Today I was able to experience first hand the frontline of national security, adding that Japan will “significantly strengthen” its military and work closely with the U.S.

He made his statement amidst concern in Japan that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could encourage neighboring China to use its military to win control of Taiwan and threaten nearby Japanese islands.

Japan has also expressed concern about the close military relations with Moscow and Beijing, though Japan and Russia have conducted joint drills in waters surrounding Japan.

Hayashi flew to the U.S. aircraft carrier from Tokyo with U.S. Ambassador Rahm Emanuel, who warned that the invasion of Ukraine, described by Russia as a “special operation,” posed security risks far beyond Europe, including in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Lincoln, where the two ministers witnessed flight operations, sailed from the Sea of Japan close to the Korean peninsula, where it conducted naval exercises with Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force, in response to the latest missile launch by North Korea.