TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister SUGA Yoshihide said Wednesday that he will aim to build close ties with the United States’ president, whether it be Donald Trump or Joe Biden.
“The Japan-US alliance is the very foundation of Japan’s diplomacy,” Suga told a House of Representatives committee meeting as vote counting was under way in the US presidential election.
“I aim to have a firm relationship with the next US president,” said the prime minister, who took office in September.
The Japanese government has been working to assess the presidential election’s possible implications for bilateral relations, while remaining neutral over a Trump re-election or a Biden victory.
If Trump wins, his administration is expected to maintain its emphasis on the Japan-US alliance in the Asia-Pacific region.
But Japan could face pressure from Trump to shoulder more of the costs of the US military presence in the Asian nation, ahead of a deadline next March for cost-sharing negotiations.
If Biden wins, the Japanese government is set to arrange promptly a US visit by Suga, in order for Suga and Biden to reconfirm the strategic importance of the bilateral alliance in the region.
Still, there are concerns that Biden may demand Japan’s cooperation with his possible tough measures, including sanctions, against China, Russia and others.