New US envoy to Japan meets Kishida, vows to deepen alliance

The new U.S. ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, has pledged to work “wholeheartedly” to deepen Washington’s alliance with Tokyo as he met with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

Via AP news wire
Friday 04 February 2022 06:58 GMT
Japan US Ambassador
Japan US Ambassador

The new U.S. ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel pledged to work “wholeheartedly” to deepen Washington s alliance with Tokyo as he met with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday.

The two discussed China's increasingly assertive military actions and North Korea's escalating missile tests, among other regional concerns, and agreed to closely cooperate, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

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

Emanuel presented 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.

Kishida said the ambassadorship “symbolizes the strong bond of the Japan-U.S. alliance" and that he had high expectations for Emanuel to further strengthen ties between the allies.

Emanuel arrives in Japan as U.S. President Joe Biden is increasing his focus on the Indo-Pacific and working to strengthen the U.S.-Japan partnership including through a regional framework known as the Quad, which also includes Australia and India.

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

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 U.S. 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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