Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (left) shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as he pays a courtesy call to Kishida at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, April 24, 2023. (PHOTO / POOL / AP)
TOKYO - Potential US 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.
DeSantis, who is set to meet with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi later on Monday, will head to South Korea, Israel and Britain after leaving Japan
"We really appreciate what a great ally Japan has been to the US for many, many decades," DeSantis told Kishida at the start of their meeting at the prime minister's office in Tokyo.
Japan last year unveiled a five-year, $315 billion military expansion, 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 is 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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