Expert: Kishida-Biden meeting shows Japan, US 'a formidable force'

Political experts are still analyzing Kishida Fumio's first visit to the US as Japan's prime minister. He met with President Joe Biden. One US-based political scientist says it shows China, North Korea and Russia that the two countries are "a formidable force."

Washington College professor Andrew Oros told NHK that the US and Japan have been working on deepening their alliance and finding new ways that Japan can contribute in an increasingly dangerous region.

Oros was surprised at a significant change -- a near doubling of Japan's defense spending and the development of counterstrike capabilities. He says the US had been hoping for such moves for a while but considered them unlikely.

Japan's government is looking to spend about 315 billion dollars on defense over five years. Kishida wants to match NATO countries' target of 2 percent of GDP.

The government also revised the national security strategy to allow for counterstrike capabilities. Kishida says Biden expressed full support for the changes.

Oros says as the global security environment worsens, the US public is paying more attention to East Asia. He thinks the war in Ukraine has paradoxically strengthened US resolve and support for Taiwan with allies like Japan.

Oros says China's aggressive stance toward Taiwan -- not considered for the last sixty or more years -- is more likely to escalate today.

While the political parties in power in Japan and the US can change, Oros says he thinks the bilateral alliance will remain strong.