US ambassador to Japan calls for closer Japan-US relations

US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel has stressed the necessity for Washington and Tokyo to strengthen ties, saying the bilateral relations are at a "critical juncture" now.

Emanuel on Wednesday delivered a speech at an event in Tokyo hosted by an organization promoting Japan-US relations. Former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo attended.

Emanuel said the two countries' relationship for the next three years will determine their alliance for the next 30 years in the Indo-Pacific area, not just bilaterally.

He proposed to project the two countries' values, principles and interests into the Indo-Pacific and bring other countries to that concept in a shared way.

Emanuel said President Joe Biden thinks his visit to Japan in May was "tremendous" in solidifying the bilateral relationship. The ambassador referred to agreements made during Biden's visits, including the plan to establish a regional office of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Japan.

Emanuel mentioned the Quad framework, consisting of Japan, the US, Australia and India, and also the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a group of 13 nations. He suggested China sees these groups as a threat "because we have allies, we have friends, we have relationships" while China has "subjects" and "dependents."

He added, "China and Russia are threatened by allies, friends and a common set of values and principles that we uphold."