Japanese PM, EU leaders discuss Russia and Indo-Pacific

The European Union says it wants to play a more active role in the Indo-Pacific. This was one of the main takeaways from Thursday’s meeting between the Japanese prime minister and European leaders.

European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are in Tokyo. They met Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio. Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine was the focus.

Kishida said, “Japan will cooperate with the G7, which includes the EU, to impose sanctions on Russia. We will continue to support Ukraine.

Kishida said they had agreed to call on other Asian and African nations to cooperate in responding to the conflict.

Michel underlined the importance of the partnership between the EU and Japan. He said: “Together, we provide significant humanitarian, financial and military support to Ukraine and its people. We also underscored our cooperation in preventing the evasion of sanctions and combating disinformation, and we are convinced that those responsible for war crimes must be, and will be brought to justice.”

Security in the Indo-Pacific, where China’s influence is growing, was also on the agenda for Thursday’s meetings.

The three leaders agreed that stronger ties will help maintain a “free and open” region for all.

Von der Leyen said, “The Indo-Pacific region is a prosperous region. It is a theater of tension. Take the situation in the East and South China Sea or the constant threat from the DPRK.”

This is the European leaders’ first visit to Japan since taking office in 2019. Michel plans to visit the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima on Friday.