The Japanese Foreign Ministry has taken issue with the headline used by Time magazine for an article featuring Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, claiming it did not accurately convey his remarks about the country's defense policy, a government official said Thursday.

Image of Time cover for May 22/29, 2023, featuring Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, as posted online by the U.S. magazine ahead of the release of the print edition. (Photo courtesy of Time) (Kyodo)  

The online version of the article, released before the magazine's print edition hits shelves Friday, initially bore the headline "Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is turning a once pacifist Japan into a military power." In response to Tokyo's pushback, Time posted a revised headline reading that Kishida "is giving a once pacifist Japan a more assertive role on the global stage."

Meanwhile, the U.S. magazine has not changed the copy on the cover of the May 22/29 edition, which features Kishida's photo along with text reading "Prime Minister Fumio Kishida wants to abandon decades of pacifism -- and make his country a true military power."

"We didn't ask for a rework, but let them know our view because there was such a big difference between the headline and the contents of the article," a Japanese government official said.

The piece highlights Kishida's resolve to work for global nuclear disarmament as a lawmaker representing a constituency in Hiroshima, as well as his decision to double the country's defense outlay over a five-year span to deal with China's increasing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.

Kishida told Time that some of his relatives were among those killed in the U.S. atomic bombing on the western Japanese city and that he heard "horrific tales of local suffering" from his grandmother.

The Japanese premier gave the interview at his official residence in Tokyo on April 28 and will host next week's summit of the Group of Seven industrialized nations in Hiroshima.

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