President Joe Biden said Friday that the “United States stands with Japan at this critical moment” as Washington welcomed Japan’s new national security strategy, marking a major shift in that country’s post-war defense policy.
"Our alliance is the cornerstone of a free and open Indo-Pacific and we welcome Japan’s contributions to peace and prosperity," Biden tweeted.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan described Japan's new strategy as a "bold and historic step to strengthen and defend the free and open Indo-Pacific."
“We congratulate Prime Minister (Fumio) Kishida and the people of Japan on their historic new National Security Strategy which will help us and our partners achieve lasting peace, stability and prosperity," he said in a statement.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken also welcomed Japan’s commitment to “modernize our Alliance through increased investment in enhanced roles, missions, and capabilities and closer defense cooperation with the United States and other Allies and partners, as outlined in these new documents.”
Japan adopted an updated version Friday of its national security strategy, its first in a decade, that allows its armed forces to acquire what it called “counter strike capability” in what is a major departure from its post-World War II pacifist posture.
The updated security and defense documents allow Japan's armed forces to “acquire the capability to strike targets in enemy territory to deter attacks, called ‘counterstrike capability,’” according to the Kyodo News agency.
The new strategy also views China as the "greatest strategic challenge," calls North Korea a “graver, more imminent threat than before” and Russia a “serious security concern.”
It also plans increased defense spending to hit 2% of the country’s GDP to bring it in line with a key NATO benchmark.