It's a slow news day this morning, but here are a few of the quieter stories we're following to see how they develop over the next few days:
Japan and Italy announced yesterday that they will increase cooperation on defense and security in the Indo-Pacific region. The two countries, together with the United Kingdom, had already signed a deal late last year to develop a next-generation fighter jet. That aircraft is planned for deployment by 2035.
The enhanced cooperation with Italy is part of a concerted effort by Japan over the last year to seek security assurances and build up support among its Western partners for a new era of Japanese foreign and defense policy amid rising tensions with China. As Richard Javad Heydarian wrote in April, Japan has committed to becoming a stabilizing force in its region and to playing a more proactive role as a global power in the 21st century.