Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday that Japan and NATO will issue a new security cooperation document, as the trans-Atlantic alliance's summit starting the same day in Lithuania takes place amid growing geopolitical concerns.

Before leaving Tokyo to attend the two-day NATO meeting, Kishida told reporters that he is eager to use the summit as an opportunity to "reaffirm cooperation with like-minded countries in upholding the rules-based, free and open international order."

Kishida and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg are expected to release the new document, which will seek to enhance cooperation between Japan and the alliance in areas such as maritime security, disinformation response and outer space, government sources said.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks to reporters at the premier's official residence in Tokyo on July 11, 2023, before leaving for a four-day trip to Lithuania to participate in a NATO summit and Belgium for talks with European Union leaders. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

Japan is developing the document, called the Individually Tailored Partnership Program, with the 31 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to bolster security cooperation between the Indo-Pacific region and Europe, with China in mind.

Kishida, who is also slated to visit Belgium for regular talks with EU leaders later this week, said he is scheduled to meet with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, respectively, on the sidelines of the NATO summit.

During his talks with Yoon, Kishida will explain Japan's plan for releasing treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea, after the International Atomic Energy Agency gave the green light for the project to go ahead, the sources said.

Kishida, meanwhile, is likely to tell Zelenskyy that Japan is ready to expand its support for Ukraine by helping to rebuild its infrastructure and economy, which have been devastated by Russia's invasion that started in February 2022, the government sources added.

On Thursday, Kishida will meet with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, according to the sources.

The leaders are poised to issue a joint statement outlining their intention to enhance cooperation in maritime, cyberspace, supply chains and other areas, the sources said.

During his four-day European tour through Friday, Kishida is expected to hold bilateral talks with leaders from various nations and regions, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.

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