MEETING WITH FOREIGN LEADERS

U.S. Pacific Command Commander Locklear Visits Japan

Courtesy Call on Prime Minister Abe

On February 3, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera and General Shigeru Iwasaki, Chief of Joint Staff during his visit to Japan.

Courtesy Call on Prime Minister Abe

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reemphasized the importance of the Japan–U.S. Alliance and requested closer collaboration between the SDF and U.S. forces, given the increasingly severe security environment in the Asia-Pacific region. Admiral Locklear responded by stating that strengthening the Japan–U.S. Alliance was of the greatest importance.

Both Prime Minister Abe and Admiral Locklear recognized the deterrent offered by a strong Japan–U.S. Alliance that includes close coordination between the SDF and U.S. forces and also agreed to work together going forward on revising the Guidelines for Japan–U.S. Defense Cooperation and making efforts to mitigate the impact of U.S. bases on Okinawa.

Courtesy Call on Minister of Defense Onodera

Courtesy Call on Minister of Defense Onodera

Minister Onodera and Admiral Locklear exchanged their views on the security environment in the Asia-Pacific region and agreed to strengthen the Japan–U.S. Alliance through continuous close collaboration between the SDF and U.S. forces aimed at regional peace and stability, including addressing North Korea and China.

With regards to the relocation of Marine Corp Air Station (MCAS) Futenma, Mr. Onodera explained that Japan will make every possible effort to mitigate the impact on Okinawa, including moving the training sites for the MV-22 Osprey outside of Okinawa. He also requested the cooperation of the U.S. side regarding this matter.

In addition to mitigating the impact on Okinawa, both agreed to continue close coordination with regards to Japan–U.S. defense cooperation including the revision of the Guidelines for Japan–U.S. Defense Cooperation, cyber security, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR).

Meeting with General Iwasaki Chief of Staff, Joint Staff

Meeting with General Iwasaki Chief of Staff, Joint Staff

Both parties discussed the security environment in the Asia Pacific region and deepening the Japan–U.S. Alliance. They also agreed to continue to make effort to enhance information sharing and the effectiveness of Japan–U.S. joint responses in order to effectively address their common security challenges.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Burns Calls on the Minister of Defense

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Burns Calls on the Minister of Defense

On January 24, Minister Onodera met with United States Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns in Tokyo. During the meeting, they exchanged their views on China’s establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), the regional situation including North Korea, and about the realignment of U.S. forces. Mr. Onodera stated that in response to China’s establishment of the ADIZ, the SDF maintains its usual surveillance posture and carries out close collaboration with U.S. forces in Japan. Deputy Secretary Burns said he would like to work together with Mr. Onodera on the challenges that Japan and the United States face, including the threat of North Korea.

Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Wakamiya Visits the U.S. Pacific Command

Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Kenji Wakamiya visited Hawaii from January 20 to 22, where he met with officials from the U.S. Pacific Command, spoke with U.S. congressional representatives, and toured local units.

Meetings with officials from the U.S. Pacific Command

Meetings with officials from the U.S. Pacific Command

Mr. Wakamiya met with Lieutenant General Thomas L. Conant, Deputy Commander and Lieutenant General Stanley T. Kresge, Vice Commander of the Pacific Air Forces.

During his meeting with Lt.Gen. Conant, Mr. Wakamiya explained the status of the construction project on the replacement site for Marine Corp Air Station Futenma and that the MOD would continue to exert its best efforts to mitigate the impact of the U.S. bases on Okinawa. He also emphasized the need for Japan–U.S. cooperation, including training relocation of the MV-22 Osprey to the mainland Japan.

During the meeting with Lt.Gen. Kresge, he confirmed the close collaboration between the ASDF and the U.S. Air Force and exchanged views on how future cooperation should take shape.

Mr. Wakamiya and representatives from the U.S. Pacific Command each agreed to further deepen their cooperative relationship toward building a stronger Japan–U.S. Alliance in order to achieve peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, where the security environment surrounding Japan has grown even more challenging.

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