NAYPYITAW – Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, in a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, on Saturday expressed Japan’s backing for U.S. airstrikes on Islamic militants in Iraq.
Huddling on the sidelines of an ASEAN Plus Three meeting in the Myanmar capital of Naypyitaw, Kishida and Kerry agreed to increase cooperation in ensuring stability in Iraq and the Gaza Strip, according to a Foreign Ministry official.
Speaking to reporters after the talks, Kishida said he told Kerry that Japan “has supported the fight by the Iraqi government and the United States against terrorism. The limited airstrikes (Friday) are part of that fight.”
Kishida told Kerry that Japan understands that the U.S. airstrikes, the first in Iraq since the United States pulled all its troops out in 2011, were meant to protect citizens and support Iraqi government forces, and were carried out with the consent of the Iraqi government.
Kishida said he and Kerry also agreed to cooperate closely in dealing with issues concerning North Korea and Ukraine.
Kishida reiterated Japan’s policy of comprehensively resolving the abduction, nuclear and missile issues with North Korea, in an effort to allay U.S. concern that Tokyo’s attempt to resolve the abduction issue not undermine coordinated action with the United States and South Korea to rein in Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear weapons programs.
Furthermore, Kishida and Kerry agreed to ensure coordination with their Group of Seven partners in addressing the crisis in Ukraine, the Foreign Ministry official said. In a show of coordinated action with the G-7, Japan has imposed additional sanctions on Russia for failing to defuse tensions in Ukraine. In an apparently retaliatory measure, Russia has postponed a vice ministerial-level meeting with Japan scheduled for late August.
The G-7 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.