Skip to content
Opinion
Gearoid Reidy

Joe Biden May Just Provide the Push Japan Needs

Pressure from the US president can give Prime Minister Fumio Kishida cover to increase military spending to counter China.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reviewing troops of the Japan Self Defense Forces, November 2021.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reviewing troops of the Japan Self Defense Forces, November 2021.

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

The “Joe-Kishi” era has arrived. 

Japan-US ties have long been defined by friendships between the two countries’ leaders, epitomized by the 1980’s “Ron-Yasu” relationship of Ronald Reagan and Yasuhiro Nakasone. While Japan has traditionally forged closer ties with Republican presidents than Democrats — think Junichiro Koizumi visiting Graceland with George W. Bush, or Shinzo Abe’s becoming golfing-buddies with Donald Trump but not Barack Obama — the relatively left-leaning Fumio Kishida will have much in common with Joe Biden when the two meet in Tokyo.