New Japan FM vows to show intl. leadership

New Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa has vowed to exercise leadership in tackling global issues such as climate change, the coronavirus, disarmament and nonproliferation to raise Japan's international profile.

Hayashi spoke to reporters on Thursday, the day after he took office.

He said he will pursue diplomacy with a determination to protect universal values and Japan's peace and stability, and to contribute to humanity and lead the international community.

He stressed the importance of further deepening the Japan-US alliance, which is the cornerstone of Japan's diplomacy, and strengthening deterrence.

He also vowed to actively promote efforts to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Referring to relations with China, South Korea and other neighboring countries, Hayashi said he will firmly face up to difficult issues while making efforts to establish steady ties.

He promised to deal resolutely with such issues as the abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korea and Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

Hayashi also said he would step down as the head of the Japan-China Parliamentary Friendship Association.