As NATO summit kickoff in Washington Wednesday, Japanese PM Kishida leaves for US

Leaders of NATO member countries will hold a summit meeting in Washington from Tuesday to Thursday with an aim to strengthen aid to Ukraine.

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio is set to leave for the United State on Wednesday to attend the NATO summit.

NATO is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2024, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It has now 32 member countries, as Sweden joined this year.

NATO leaders aim to stress the importance of the alliance in a commemorative ceremony on Tuesday.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the summit is expected to strengthen the Western alliance’s role in military assistance for Ukraine. He says he expects NATO to coordinate training for Ukrainian troops and to supply weapons from its member nations. Stoltenberg also predicts the members will agree on financial support for military assistance to Kyiv.

Four non-member countries from the Indo-Pacific region, including Japan, have been invited to the summit to further deepen cooperation with NATO. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will also attend.

The four NATO partners in the Indo-Pacific — Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand — are scheduled to join the gathering in Washington.

The four nations are expected to confirm they will expand cooperation with NATO in responding to threats from cyberattacks and disinformation, among other areas.

They are also considering holding separate meetings with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and US President Joe Biden.

In Europe, there are concerns that if Donald Trump is elected the US president in November, it may impact the unity inside NATO. Trump has been voicing skepticism about the organization, insisting that its member countries rely too much on the US for their national defense.

Stoltenberg is expected to emphasize in the Washington meeting that NATO is an important tool for the US as well.

He also hopes that stronger ties with NATO and other countries will lead to peace and stability in East Asia, including Japan, recognizing that the security of Europe and Asia is inseparable in light of moves by Russia and China.

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