Motegi Seeks Expanded Cooperation on Indo-Pacific Vision


Tokyo, Jan. 18 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi laid out a policy to expand to wider areas the framework of cooperation for promoting an initiative to realize a "free and open Indo-Pacific," in a foreign policy speech to parliament on Monday.

Japan hopes to encourage European, Middle Eastern and African countries to join the initiative, Motegi said in the speech to both chambers of parliament at the start of an ordinary session.

The initiative has been promoted by Japan, the United States, India and Australia to bolster cooperation based on the rule of law, apparently with the aim of maintaining a buffer against China's assertiveness.

Motegi said Japan regards its alliance with the United States as a cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and hopes to work with the administration of next U.S. President Joe Biden to strengthen the bilateral alliance.

Also in the speech, the Japanese foreign minister expressed regret over an order given by a South Korean district court earlier this month for the Japanese government to pay compensation to former wartime comfort women, calling it "an unimaginably unusual development under international law and in the bilateral relationship." Comfort women, mostly Koreans, were forced to provide sex for Japanese troops before and during World War II.

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Jiji Press