JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.64

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Japan-U.S. Defense Ministerial Meeting

Japan-U.S. Defense Ministerial Meeting

USAOn April 8th, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani and U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter held a meeting at the Ministry of Defense for approx. 80 minutes from 09:55.

1. Overview, Regional Situation

The Ministers affirmed that the Japan-U.S. Alliance will continue to play an important role for ensuring security of Japan as well as peace and stability in the region. They also confirmed that they continue close bilateral cooperation to further strengthen the Alliance.

They discussed security environment of the Asia Pacific region. They also confirmed the U.S. position on the Senkaku Islands and affirmed that the two countries oppose any coercive action that would alter the status quo in the East China Sea and any other areas.

With an increasingly severe regional security environment including a series of ballistic missiles launched by North Korea, the Ministers agreed to continue close bilateral cooperation.

2. The Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation, Japan’s Security Legislation and Japan-U.S. Cooperation in Space and Cyberspace

Both Ministers agreed to continue strenuous work toward finalizing the revision of the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation in an early stage. They affirmed their strong intention to further strengthen Japan-U.S. Alliance through the process of the revision.

Minister Nakatani also described the progress of the deliberation over security legislation’s development, and Secretary Carter welcomed and supported Japan’s efforts in this area.

Since the threat against the stable use of space and cyberspace is becoming common security challenge, both Ministers confirmed to strengthen bilateral cooperation and instructed their respective office in charge to consider establishing a new framework to discuss space-related issues between the two defense authorities.

Japan-U.S. Defense Ministerial Meeting

3. Japan-U.S. Cooperation on Equipment and Technology

The Ministers agreed that they will further deepen bilateral cooperation on equipment and technology, while welcoming the advancement in the efforts to establish Japan-U.S. shared maintenance infrastructure, including the U.S.’s decision to establish F-35’s maintenance base (regional depot) in Japan.

4. USFJ Realignment

Minister Nakatani explained that the GOJ will continue to make its utmost efforts towards the return of MCAS Futenma and the relocation to Camp Schwab as soon as possible. The Ministers reaffirmed that the relocation to Camp Schwab is the only solution to avoid continued use of MCAS Futenma.

The Ministers confirmed the significance of impact mitigation on Okinawa, and welcomed the accelerated efforts on relocation to Guam, the MV-22 Osprey trainings which were conducted safely outside Okinawa, and progress on impact mitigation such as the return of West Futenma Housing Areas. Minister Nakatani requested continued cooperation on Okinawa impact mitigation, and Secretary Carter affirmed that the U.S. is also committed to exploring ways to reduce the impact of the USFJ presence in Okinawa.

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