Current News Featured Stories

The Japan-US Summit Highlights Changing Security Realities

Author: Cüneyt Aksoy

On 10 April 2024, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made an official state visit to the United States (US). Ahead of the visit and the summit meeting with US President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Kishida, in an interview, said that the geopolitical tensions have pushed the world to a “historical turning point”.[1] This underscores the defence and security nature of the summit and the importance of the Japan-US Security Alliance, as Kishida’s visit was the first by a Japanese leader in nine years.[2]

The summit between Biden and Kishida, dubbed by Kishida as a meeting of two global partners,[3] resulted in an aptly named joint leaders’ statement: Global Partners for the Future[4]. The areas in the statement ranged from Defence and Security Cooperation, Space Cooperation, Economic and Technology Cooperation, Global Diplomacy and Development, to People-to-people Ties. As security matters took centre stage, about 70 agreements on defence cooperation were reached between Japan and the US.[5] These agreements include the plans to upgrade the United States’ military command headquarters in Japan to better coordinate with Japanese forces and to form a “military industrial council” to explore joint defence industry endeavours.[6] [7]

The two leaders also announced the shared goal of a Japanese national to be the first non-American astronaut to land on the moon as part of the Artemis missions.[8]

Aside from the summit talks with President Biden, Prime Minister Kishida also became the second Japanese leader in history to address a joint meeting of the US Congress as part of his visit.[9] This address further demonstrates the rising importance of the security alliance with the US for Japan. Kishida’s reiterance of Japan’s goals of increasing defence spending to 2% of GDP and plans of future possession of counter-strike capabilities, as it was stated in the 2022 National Security Strategy[10] during the summit[11], also shows the expansion of Japan’s contribution to the security alliance going forward.

Ultimately, the latest Japan-US summit, which represents a continuation of a larger trend of shift in Japan’s security posture, shows the importance of the Japan-US Security Alliance and Japan’s determination to uphold and bolster a Free and Open Indo-Pacific and rules-based international order with like-minded countries.[12]

[1] Alexandra Sharp, ‘Biden-Kishida Summit Secures New Defense Cooperation’, Foreign Policy (blog), 16 May 2024,

[2] Thisanka Siripala, ‘The US and Japan’s Mission to Push Next Generation Nuclear Power’, The Diplomat, 10 April 2024,

[3] Ibid.

[4] ‘Japan-U.S. Joint Leaders’ Statement:(“Global Partners for the Future”)’ (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan), accessed 11 April 2024,

[5] David Smith, ‘US and Japan Announce New Military Agreements Aimed at Countering China’, The Guardian, 10 April 2024, sec. US news,

[6] Sharp, ‘Biden-Kishida Summit Secures New Defense Cooperation’.

[7] ‘Japan-U.S. Joint Leaders’ Statement’.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Sharp, ‘Biden-Kishida Summit Secures New Defense Cooperation’.

[10] See Aksoy, C. “Japan’s New Security Policy”

[11] ‘Japan-U.S. Joint Leaders’ Statement’.

[12] See Van Niekerk, G. “Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Vision: Global Commerce, Maritime Security and Implications for Africa” for more