The United States and Japan are revisiting their mutual defense treaty for the first time in 16 years, since changes would have to be made to adapt to the looming threats in the Asia-Pacific region. US Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are in Tokyo to meet with their Japanese counterparts, Fumio Kishida and Itsunori Onodera as part of the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee meeting.
The two allies made a pledge to create “a more robust alliance” in light of the growing military might of China and the now-quiet but still present threat of North Korea’s nuclear program. Kerry said that there are now different kinds of threats to the region and the bilateral alliance is an important part of their respective countries’ national security strategies. Japan is considering revising its pacifist constitution as part of improving the country’s Self Defense Forces, as they are currently in several territorial disputes with its neighbours, including the issue of control over the Senkaku Islands. After the meeting, Kishida said in a press conference that the US has reaffirmed their stand that the resource-rich islands belong to Japan.
The meeting also resulted in the announcement that the US will be deploying a second missile-defense radar and two or three unmanned long-range surveillance drones to Japan to assist them as they seek to protect their territory. Of importance also is the discussion of the plans to transfer 5,000 marines from Okinawa to Guam and other Pacific islands as Japan looks to lessen the burden on the prefecture of hosting the more than 19,000 military personnel in the southernmost islands. The two countries will also be expanding their cooperation on the issues of global terrorism and piracy as well as providing humanitarian aid. The ever-increasing threat of cyber attacks was also an important agenda and both countries agreed to work with private industries to counter this threat.
[ via The Republic ]