Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said on Wednesday he welcomes the increased involvement of NATO member states in the Indo-Pacific region, where China has become increasingly assertive militarily.

During an extended session of the two-day NATO foreign ministerial meeting in Brussels, Hayashi also pledged to boost Japan's cooperation with the trans-Atlantic alliance amid an increasingly volatile global security environment, made worse by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Hayashi said Japan cannot achieve its goal of realizing a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific," a term popularized by the late former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on its own. The concept has been used to raise awareness about Beijing's growing military and economic clout in the region.