Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Japan ramps up diplomacy with European leaders

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has been actively engaging in summit diplomacy with European leaders following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Kishida is working to strengthen the relationship between Japan and Europe and boost cooperation to defend the rules-based international order against Russia and China, which are increasingly taking steps to change the status quo by force. At a dinner hosted by Kishida last Wednesday in Tokyo, visiting Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin commented that Japan is in a difficult situation surrounded by Russia, China and North Korea, according to sources. (https://www.stripes.com/theaters/asia_pacific/2022-05-16/kishida-ramps-up-diplomacy-with-european-leaders-6028327.html) Marin’s comment was interpreted as an expression of sympathy for the position of Japan, which faces the threat of China and North Korea in addition to Russia. Kishida expressed understanding regarding Finland’s plan to apply to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during the leaders’ summit on Wednesday. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Japan in late April, and on Wednesday, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen were in Tokyo for talks. It is rare for European leaders to visit Japan so many in such a short period. Kishida also paid visits to Britain and Italy during the Golden Week holiday period in early May.

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