Ron DeSantis praises Japan’s military build-up in visit

TOKYO — Potential U.S. presidential candidate Ron DeSantis on Monday met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and lauded bilateral ties, especially the idea of a “strong Japan.”

The trip, officially part of a four-country trade mission, comes as the Florida governor seeks to burnish foreign policy credentials ahead of an official announcement that he will run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, expected later this year.

“We really appreciate what a great ally Japan has been to the U.S. for many, many decades,” DeSantis told Kishida at the start of their meeting at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo.

Image: Fumio Kishida, Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo on Monday.Kimimasa Mayama / AP

Japan last year unveiled a five-year, $315 billion military expansion in the face of an increasingly powerful China and as North Korea steps up its missile launches, a move that DeSantis praised.

“We very much applaud your efforts to bolster your defenses. We understand it’s a tough neighborhood out here … and we really believe that a strong Japan is good for America, and a strong America is good for Japan,” he said.

DeSantis, who was set to meet with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi later on Monday, will head to South Korea, Israel and Britain after leaving Japan.

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