04 February 2022

New US envoy vows to strengthen alliance in meeting with Japanese PM

04 February 2022

The new US ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel, had pledged to work “wholeheartedly” to deepen Washington’s alliance with Tokyo as he met with prime minister Fumio Kishida.

The two discussed China’s increasingly assertive military actions and North Korea’s escalating missile tests, and agreed to cooperate closely, the Japanese foreign ministry said.

Mr Emanuel told reporters: “I pledged to the prime minister that I will wholeheartedly work every day on behalf of the ideals of the alliance.”

The ambassador presented Mr Kishida with a pair of Major League Baseball uniforms for the Cubs and White Sox – with “Kishida 100” printed on the back – from his hometown Chicago, where he was previously mayor.

The gift won big smiles from Japan’s 100th prime minister, who is an avid baseball fan, especially the Carp team, from his home town Hiroshima.

The two countries have vowed to strengthen ties amid China’s increasing assertiveness (AP) (AP)

Mr Kishida said the ambassadorship “symbolises the iron-clad bond of the Japan-US alliance” and that he had high expectations for Emanuel to further strengthen ties between the allies.

Mr Emanuel arrives in Japan as US president Joe Biden increases his focus on the Indo-Pacific and works to strengthen the US-Japanese partnership including through a regional framework known as the Quad, which also includes Australia and India.

During an online summit last month, Mr Biden and Mr Kishida agreed to attend an in-person Quad meeting in Tokyo sometime in the spring.

Mr Emanuel is a former three-term congressman who served as former president Barack Obama’s first White House chief of staff and was a senior adviser in former president Bill Clinton’s administration.

His ambassadorship will become official after he presents his credentials to Emperor Naruhito in a palace ceremony.

The post of US ambassador to Japan was vacant for more than two years after William Hagerty left in July 2019 to run for the senate.

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