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3 May, 2023 14:36

NATO to open office in Japan – media

The US-led military bloc wants to deepen Asia-Pacific cooperation, according to Nikkei
NATO to open office in Japan – media

Japan and NATO are reportedly seeking to increase collaboration in cyberspace and the US-led military bloc plans to open its first liaison office in Tokyo, Nikkei Asia reported on Wednesday.

According to the outlet, which cited both Japanese and NATO officials, the planned one-person station would allow, the bloc conduct periodic consultations with regional 'partners' such as Australia, New Zealand and South Korea.

The proposal to open a liaison office is still being negotiated, according to Nikkei, after the proposal was first raised by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during the latter’s visit to Tokyo earlier this year.

The outlet noteD that similar NATO stations are usually provided by the host nation, and that if Tokyo ends up funding a Western military foothold in Japan, it would mark a new phase in defense cooperation for the country.

Tokyo also reportedly plans to sign an Individually Tailored Partnership Program with the bloc before the NATO summit in Lithuania in July. Japan and NATO are supposedly looking to deepen collaboration in tackling cyber threats, coordinate stances on emerging and disruptive technologies, and exchange notes on fighting disinformation, Nikkei reported.

The news comes after NATO openly outlined its plans to increase cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. In its 2022 Strategic Concept, the bloc explained the need to create new alliances by emphasizing “systemic challenges” to Euro-Atlantic security posed by China and Russia, with Moscow described as the “most significant and direct threat” to NATO.

The bloc’s attempts to spread its influence into Asia has already attracted criticism from both Moscow and Beijing. In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin blasted the push to create a “global NATO” and said it resembled the actions of Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan in the 1930s.

China, meanwhile, has also denounced NATO’s Strategic Concept, claiming it was filled with distorted facts and tainted with a Cold War mentality that smears Beijing’s foreign policy.