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U.S., Japan Military-to-Military Relationship Reaches 'New Heights'

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (April 11, 2024) -- Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met at the White House with President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan yesterday to participate in discussions related to strengthening the U.S. and Japan relationship.

"Our defense and security ties with Japan form the core of our alliances and are the cornerstone of regional peace and security in the Indo-Pacific," Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said during a briefing today at the Pentagon.

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"Recognizing that the alliance has reached new heights, we plan to further bolster our defense and security cooperation to allow for greater coordination and integration," he said.

As part of the effort to enhance U.S. and Japan security cooperation, both nations agreed to, for instance, an upgrading of alliance command and control. Doing so would enable better integration of operations and capabilities, plus allow for greater interoperability as well as planning between U.S. and Japanese forces in peacetime and during contingencies.

Also discussed were efforts at bolstering regional networked security. Both countries will cooperate on a networked air defense architecture, incorporating future capabilities with Australia. That includes looking at enhanced cooperation in missile defense information sharing.

The U.S. and Japan also agreed to a deepening of defense industry cooperation, where both nations plan to leverage respective industrial bases to establish an alliance defense production capacity to meet the demand for critical capabilities over the long term.

Ryder said there were dozens of deliverables that came out of the discussions but did not have a specific timeline to share. But he did say that the Defense Department stands ready to do what's asked of it to help the U.S. strengthen the partnership with its long-time ally in the Pacific.

"We are working hard across all levels of the department to deliver on the agreements made by our national leaders and of course doing so in very close concert with our Japanese allies," he said.

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