JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.52
MEETING WITH FOREIGN LEADERS

Japan–U.S. Defense Ministerial Meeting

Japan–U.S. Defense Ministerial Meeting

On April 6th, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel held a meeting at the Ministry of Defense.

1. Overview and Regional Environment

Japan–U.S. Defense Ministerial Meeting

Both ministers confirmed the continued importance of the Japan–U.S. Alliance in ensuring the safety of Japan as well as peace and stability in the region. The two ministers also exchanged their views on the security environment in the Asia-Pacific region. The ministers reaffirmed the U.S. stance toward the Senkaku Islands and agreed to oppose any attempt to alter the status quo by force in the East China Sea or other locations. Given that the security environment in East Asia is growing more severe due to North Korea’s continuing pursuit of nuclear weapons and multiple launches of ballistic missiles, the two ministers agreed to continue close bilateral collaboration between Japan and the U.S. as well as to promote trilateral cooperation including South Korea and Australia. Both ministers also concurred on the importance of further strengthening of relationships with countries in Southeast Asia from the standpoint of contributing to peace and stability in the broader Asia-Pacific region.

2. Defense Policies of Japan and the U.S., and Japan–U.S. Defense Cooperation

Japan–U.S. Defense Ministerial Meeting

(1) Defense Policies of Japan and the U.S., Revision of the Guidelines for Japan–U.S. Defense Cooperation

Both ministers agreed to strengthen the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan–U.S. Alliance by steadily moving forward with a broad range of Japan–U.S. defense cooperation, including revision of the Guidelines for Japan–U.S. Defense Cooperation that are expected to be completed by the end of 2014 in accordance with the joint statement at the U.S.–Japan Security Consultative Committee (“2+2”) held in October 2013, while closely linking their initiatives based on the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) released in March 2014 and the National Defense Program Guidelines. U.S. Defense Secretary Hagel noted that the U.S. policies continue to focus on the Asia-Pacific region as indicated in the QDR, and as part of these policies the U.S. will deploy two additional Aegis destroyers with anti-ballistic missile capabilities to Japan by the year of 2017.

(2) The Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology

Minister Onodera explained about the Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology and Secretary Hagel noted that he welcomed such initiatives. Both ministers agreed to continue deepening bilateral defense equipment and technology cooperation.

3. Realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan

Japan–U.S. Defense Ministerial Meeting

Minister Onodera explained Okinawa Prefecture’s requests with regard to mitigating the impact caused by U.S. bases in Okinawa including the termination of the use of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma within five years, as well as Japan’s efforts to address these demands. Secretary Hagel stated that he understood the concerns of the people of Okinawa and that the U.S. would continue to support Japan’s efforts. In light of the agreement on initiatives to mitigate the impact on Okinawa, both ministers confirmed that they would move forward with more concrete cooperation. In addition, the two ministers once again welcomed the recent progress with regards to the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan.

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