DeSantis Kicks Off Foreign Tour With U.S. Allies As He Gears Up For Likely Presidential Run
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (L) shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida as he pays a courtesy call at the latter's official residence in Tokyo April 24, 2023.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made his first trip overseas since 2019 this week, meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo on Monday to discuss economic matters as the 44-year-old gears up for a likely presidential campaign.

The Washington Post reported that the trip was officially part of an “international trade mission” with Enterprise Florida, an economic development organization in Florida that aims to build economic ties between the state and Japan, South Korea, Israel, and the United Kingdom.

“This trade mission will give us the opportunity to strengthen economic relationships and continue to demonstrate Florida’s position as an economic leader,” DeSantis said in a press release late last week.

DeSantis will visit the other three nations during the trip.

During the meeting, DeSantis praised Japan’s efforts to bolster its military amid increasing threats from communist China.

“We very much applaud your efforts to bolster your defenses,” DeSantis said. “We understand it’s a tough neighborhood out here, with North Korea, the rise of the [Chinese Communist Party], and we really believe that a strong Japan is good for America, and a strong America is good for Japan.”

DeSantis also said that the U.S. needs to invest more in its military to keep up with emerging threats. “If you look at our stockpiles and some of the things that have happened over the last few years, there’s a lot of room for improvement on our end as well,” he said.

After the meeting, DeSantis told reporters he was a “big supporter” of the U.S.-Japan alliance, adding that Japan has been “a heck of an ally for our country.”


“We had the privilege of meeting with Prime Minister Kishida to build on discussions we had during the SEUS Japan Conference in Florida this past fall,” DeSantis wrote on Twitter following his remarks with reporters. “We look forward to strengthening the relationship between Japan and Florida.”

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