National / Politics

Rising political star Shinjiro Koizumi calls for closer Japan-U.S. alliance and vows domestic reforms

Kyodo

Rising political star Shinjiro Koizumi on Friday called for a deepening of the alliance between Tokyo and Washington while expressing his commitment to reforms that will help Japan cope with its rapidly aging population.

“I am absolutely convinced that Japan will remain a reliable partner for the United States and for the world,” Koizumi, a lawmaker from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said in a speech in Washington.

With the rise of China leading to a shift in the regional balance, Koizumi said there will be room for further collaboration between Japan and other democratic countries in the Indo-Pacific, such as the United States, India and Indonesia.

“Japan should engage more with the world and play a more significant role on the international stage,” he told the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.

“Shifting geopolitical dynamics now more so than ever put Japan and the United States in the same boat, both politically and economically.”

A son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the 38-year-old is seen as a potential future prime minister. The younger Koizumi studied at Columbia University and served as a fellow at the CSIS.

Despite the nation’s declining population, the Japanese market “has been expanding significantly in recent years,” Koizumi said, citing the enforcement of a revised 11-member Pacific trade pact and a free trade agreement between Japan and the European Union.

He also voiced confidence that Japan will further increase exports of agricultural products, given a rising demand for healthy Japanese farm produce abroad.

Koizumi said Japan is “at the edge of a new frontier” with its shrinking population and high life expectancy, and he pledged to help the country thrive in the future by advancing social security and employment reforms. “New frontier” was a term used by former U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

“Just like President Kennedy, I am also determined to do everything I can to inspire the Japanese people to undertake all reforms necessary for our survival,” Koizumi said.

“The guiding principle for Japan’s future should be its engagement with the world and its reinvention,” he said.