The model for Asia’s Quad? The Beatles, says Japan’s foreign minister

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As Asia’s “Quad” powers search for ways to define the group, Japan’s foreign minister has offered a model – The Beatles.

Yoshimasa Hayashi, an avid music fan, drew the parallel to the Fab Four on Friday, as he met his Quad counterparts from the United States, Australia and India in New Delhi.

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“This is kind of a band like The Beatles. The members are fixed and they always play together (for over) 10 years,” Hayashi said.

“But this is more kind of a soft group, so that even within The Beatles, Paul McCartney can release an album solo.”

Hayashi himself is a skilled pianist, who wowed his Group of Seven counterparts with an impromptu performance of John Lennon’s “Imagine” when they met in 2021 in the band’s hometown of Liverpool.

The Quad was spearheaded by late Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe as an alliance of democracies, that China has described as an attempt to encircle it.

Its members deny hostile intentions and stress that they are not a military alliance, instead cooperating in areas such as vaccine production and disaster relief.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken – himself a guitarist who has released his own songs inspired by classic rock – made a similar point to Hayashi, if less musically.

“We really look at this as variable geometry,” he said.

“There are different collections of countries – some informal alliances, some looser partnerships, some working together on a bilateral basis, some in slightly larger groupings,” he said.

“The idea really is to make sure that we’re fit for purpose for any particular challenge.”

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