Joint Statement of the Security Consultative Committee
On April 19, 2019, the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee convened in Washington, DC, with the participation of Secretary of State Pompeo, Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan, Minister for Foreign Affairs Kono, and Minister of Defense Iwaya. During the meeting, the Ministers affirmed their strong commitment to realize a "free and open Indo-Pacific," a shared vision for a region in which all nations are sovereign, strong, and prosperous. Decades after the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security was signed, the U.S.-Japan Alliance serves as the cornerstone of peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and remains iron-clad amid an increasingly complex security environment. The Alliance will continue to play an indispensable role in upholding a rules-based international order and promoting the shared values of the American and Japanese people.
The Ministers welcomed the alignment of the strategic policy documents of both countries, namely the United States' National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy, and Japan's National Defense Program Guidelines. These strategies show that the U.S.-Japan security partnership continues to adapt to be stronger, more advanced, and more effective, consistent with the objectives of the bilateral 2015 Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation.
The Ministers acknowledged their shared concern that geopolitical competition and coercive attempts to undermine international rules, norms, and institutions present challenges to the Alliance and to the shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific. The Ministers highlighted the need for an increasingly networked structure of alliances and partnerships, anchored by the U.S.-Japan Alliance, to counter these challenges. The Ministers also expressed concern about rapidly evolving technological advancement in new domains, including space, cyberspace, and the electromagnetic spectrum. The Ministers highlighted the need to address these challenges jointly to ensure the Alliance's superiority in a contingency and to safeguard our institutions and rules-based order during peacetime.
The Ministers affirmed that their two nations' strong bilateral security relationship continues to be the foundation of the U.S.-Japan Alliance. As such, the Ministers decided that cooperation in cross-domain operations, enhancing the Alliance's capabilities, and increasing operational readiness and cooperation should be core objectives to advance our defense relationship. The United States welcomed Japan's proactive steps to strengthen its defensive capabilities, with the Ministers confirming that both nations need to constantly re-evaluate their roles, missions, and capabilities.
Acknowledging the changing dynamics of warfare, the Ministers highlighted the importance of developing capabilities and increasing operational cooperation in both conventional and non-conventional domains. The Ministers highlighted space, cyberspace, and the electromagnetic spectrum as priority areas to better prepare the Alliance for cross-domain operations.
On cyberspace issues, the Ministers recognized that malicious cyber activity presents an increasing threat to the security and prosperity of both the United States and Japan. To address this threat, the Ministers committed to enhance cooperation on cyber issues, including deterrence and response capabilities, but as a matter of priority, emphasized that each nation is responsible for developing the relevant capabilities to protect their national networks and critical infrastructure. The Ministers affirmed that international law applies in cyberspace and that a cyber attack could, in certain circumstances, constitute an armed attack for the purposes of Article V of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. The Ministers also affirmed that a decision as to when a cyber attack would constitute an armed attack under Article V would be made on a case-by-case basis, and through close consultations between Japan and the United States, as would be the case for any other threat.
The Ministers recognized the critical role that U.S. extended deterrence plays in ensuring the security of Japan, as well as the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region. The United States reiterated its commitment to the defense of Japan through the full range of U.S. military capabilities, including conventional and nuclear.
The Ministers reiterated the importance of the international community's ongoing commitment to achieving North Korea's abandonment of all of its weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles, and related programs and facilities in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions. The Ministers welcomed the United States' diplomatic efforts to achieve the final, fully verified denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, including through the U.S.-North Korea Summits. The Ministers affirmed their commitment to lead international efforts in UNSCR implementation, particularly in combatting illicit ship-to-ship transfers, and the Ministers committed to strengthen and enhance cooperation with other partner countries participating in UNSCR implementation. The Ministers also recognized the successful efforts to bring back U.S. nationals held in North Korea, and called upon North Korea to resolve the Japanese abductions issue immediately.
The Ministers reaffirmed that U.S. force posture in the region would remain robust and grounded in a clear-eyed assessment of threats, and they determined to deepen consultation on ensuring deterrence and security in the region. The Ministers also highlighted the importance of cooperation among the United States, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, and committed to work together to promote trilateral security cooperation and exercises.
The Ministers expressed serious concern about, and strong opposition to, unilateral coercive attempts to alter the status quo in the East China Sea (ECS) and South China Sea (SCS). The Ministers renewed their determination to work together to safeguard the peace and stability of the ECS, and reconfirmed that Article V of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands and that both nations oppose any unilateral action that seeks to undermine Japan's administration of these islands.
The Ministers renewed their commitment to work both together and multilaterally to further support a free and open Indo-Pacific, including through joint exercises and port calls with partners in the region, capacity building in such areas as maritime domain awareness and law enforcement, and promotion of sustainable economic development and connectivity through quality infrastructure. The Ministers also recognized the crucial role of the U.S.-Japan Security arrangements in facilitating the greater presence of U.S. forces in the region.
To enable the United States to continue to maintain forward deployed forces in Japan, the Ministers reaffirmed the two Governments' commitment to steadily implement the realignment of U.S. forces. The Ministers also welcomed the significant progress on the Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF) and reconfirmed that the plan to construct the FRF at the Camp Schwab-Henokosaki area and adjacent waters is the only solution that avoids the continued use of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma. The Ministers underscored their strong determination to achieve its completion as soon as possible.
In recognition of the depth and breadth of the U.S.-Japan Alliance, the Ministers agreed to release a fact sheet detailing additional areas of bilateral cooperation.
U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee 2019 Fact Sheet
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, U.S. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Foreign Minister Taro Kono, and Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya met in Washington, DC on April 19, 2019. Building upon their joint statement, the Ministers discussed the following shared priorities and initiatives through which the people of the United States and Japan will work together to strengthen the U.S.-Japan Alliance and build a free and open Indo-Pacific:
I. Bilateral Security and Defense Cooperation
Cooperation for Cross-Domain Operations
- Emphasizing the integral role of space in full spectrum cross-domain operations, the Ministers stressed the importance of deepening cooperation on space capabilities to strengthen mission assurance, interoperability, and operational cooperation. Both sides recognized the benefits of cooperation on space situational awareness (SSA) and highlighted Japan's development of a Deep Space Radar and the opportunity to host U.S.-provided SSA payloads on Japan's Quasi Zenith Satellite System planned for launch in 2023. The Ministers also underscored their interest in identifying ways to support alliance needs by leveraging emerging, innovative space concepts.
- The Ministers determined to bolster capability and enhance their respective integrated defense for both air and missile threats, including through the timely and smooth deployment of Japan's Aegis Ashore. The Ministers also shared their concerns about the proliferation of intermediate-range missiles worldwide and committed to working together to address this growing threat.
Enhancing the Alliance's Capabilities
- The Ministers reiterated the importance of modernizing and adapting the Alliance's capabilities to meet both current and future needs, including through the introduction of advanced weapon systems to Japan such as F-35, E-2D, V-22, stand-off missiles, and Aegis Ashore. The United States welcomed Japan's decision to utilize a multi-year budgeting process to purchase nine E-2D aircraft. The Ministers recognized the importance of utilizing multi-year budgeting, and ensuring cost transparency as well as early and effective case closures to further streamline the foreign military sales process.
- To enhance interoperability, the Ministers reaffirmed the intent to promote the standardization of defense equipment, sharing of defense networks, and cooperation on emerging technologies. The Ministers welcomed progress on the SM-3 Block IIA and its anticipated shift to the production phase, as well as the expedited cooperative research process for amphibious operational technologies.
- Cognizant of the fact that the Alliance's technological advantage must be safeguarded from our adversaries at all times, the Ministers committed to strengthen and enhance information security practices across the whole of government to protect classified information, maintain technological superiority, and preserve our shared economic and defense advantages in the face of evolving threats to the Japan-U.S. Alliance. The Ministers emphasized the need for greater supply chain security, noting threats to the defense industrial base, national networks, and critical infrastructure required for mission assurance.
Operational Readiness and Cooperation
- The Ministers committed to deepen operational cooperation as a means to improve Alliance readiness, interoperability, and deterrence, which are critical components for both peacetime and contingency operations. As a result, the Ministers welcomed the steady implementation of mutual asset protection; bilateral presence and joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance operations; increased scope of logistical support under the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement; and ongoing exchange of liaison officers.
- The Ministers also reaffirmed that the two Governments would promote joint/shared use of the facilities of the Self-Defense Forces of Japan and U.S. Forces, in addition to operational training areas, to enhance interoperability, deterrence, and response capability, and to build a stronger relationship with local communities. The Ministers welcomed steady progress in both bilateral planning and cooperation on non-combatant evacuation operations.
II. U.S. Forces in Japan
- The Ministers reaffirmed the two Governments' commitment to steadily implement the realignment of U.S. forces in order to improve operational readiness and deterrent capabilities, while continuing efforts to mitigate the impact on local communities. The Ministers welcomed initiatives to build and strengthen U.S. forces' community relations programs.
- The Ministers welcomed the progress on facility improvements of Nyutabaru Air Base and Tsuiki Air Base of the Air Self-Defense Force for contingency use of aircraft.
- The Ministers welcomed the relocation of the carrier air wing squadrons from Atsugi Air Facility to MCAS Iwakuni last year. The United States also expressed appreciation for the Government of Japan's continued efforts to acquire Mageshima for a new SDF facility. This facility will support operations such as large-scale disaster response as well as regular exercises and other activities, including as a permanent field carrier landing practice (FCLP) site for use by U.S. forces. The United States reiterated that a permanent FCLP facility will greatly contribute to the safe operation and training of U.S. forces. The Ministers expressed their intention to work closely in order to complete the development of the permanent facility at the earliest possible date.
- The Ministers welcomed progress in the steady implementation of the Guam International Agreement, and the planned relocation of approximately 9,000 U.S. Marine Corps personnel from Okinawa to locations outside of Japan. They reconfirmed the plan to begin the relocation to Guam in the first half of the 2020s.
- The Ministers recognized the importance of aviation safety and addressing public concerns related to this issue. The Ministers committed to facilitate prompt exchanges of information, and to continue a regular bilateral dialogue regarding aviation safety. Both sides recognized the necessity of all training, including aviation training, to maintain the highest levels of readiness and capabilities for the Alliance.
III. Working with Partners for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific
- The Ministers reiterated their support for ASEAN centrality and unity and their commitment to multilateral cooperation in Southeast Asia, including through joint training and exercises, capacity building, defense equipment and technology cooperation, and support for ASEAN-related architecture, including the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum, and the ASEAN Defense Minister's Meeting Plus. To support the autonomous and sustainable development of countries in the Mekong region, the Ministers committed to work closely in support of regional countries to address shared transboundary challenges, including transnational crime and trafficking, regional connectivity, energy security, and enhanced energy system integration.
- The Ministers welcomed continued cooperation and high-level consultation among the United States, Japan, and Australia, including through the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue, and noted the importance of trilateral joint exercises and capacity building in Southeast Asian and Pacific island countries. The Ministers also noted with satisfaction the first Japan-U.S.-India trilateral summit meeting in 2018 and highlighted significant joint exercises, such as Malabar 2018 and Cope India 2018. Building upon these various trilateral efforts, the Ministers welcomed the regularization of quadrilateral engagement among Japan, the United States, Australia, and India. The Ministers also welcomed the increasing regional presence of the United Kingdom and France, and called for further cooperation in areas including activities in support of freedom of navigation, port calls, and countering illicit ship-to-ship transfers.
- The Ministers called for full respect for freedoms of navigation and overflight and other lawful uses of the sea, and reiterated the importance of activities that support those principles. The Ministers urged all parties to pursue demilitarization of disputed features in the SCS, resolve all maritime disputes peacefully without resorting to the threat or use of force, clarify their maritime claims in accordance with the international law of the sea as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, and fully respect legal and diplomatic processes.
- The Ministers underscored the importance of the July 2016 Philippines-China Arbitral Tribunal's Award for the two parties. The Ministers also emphasized the importance of a Code of Conduct in the SCS that is in full accordance with international law and upholds the right of ASEAN member states to partner with countries and foreign entities of their choosing, including with respect to hydrocarbon development and military exercises.
IV. Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games
- The Ministers confirmed that the two Governments intend to continue to work closely together through a whole-of-government effort toward a successful Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.