EFFORTS TO MODERNIZE U.S – JAPAN ALLIANCE
By Cheryl Pellerin
22 Aug 14. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work met with Japanese government leaders here to discuss efforts to modernize the U.S.-Japan alliance, review progress on realigning U.S. forces in Japan, and to discuss bilateral efforts to enhance alliance force posture and capabilities.
U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work meets with Japanese defense and government leaders in Tokyo, Aug. 22, 2014. Work and the Japanese leaders discussed efforts to modernize the U.S.-Japan alliance, progress made on realigning U.S. forces in Japan, and continuing efforts to enhance the U.S.-Japan alliance’s force posture and capabilities. Work also met with Parliamentary Senior Vice Minister of Defense Ryota Takeda.
Work met with Parliamentary Senior Vice Minister of Defense Ryota Takeda and Parliamentary Senior Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Nobuo Kishi. He also met with service component commanders and U.S. service members.
Tomorrow morning, Work is slated for a breakfast meeting with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and a tour aboard the USS Shiloh, a U.S. Navy Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser on station at Yokosuka Naval Base, before heading back to Washington.
Work’s Aug. 17-23 trip to Hawaii, Guam, South Korea and Japan was his first official visit to the Asia-Pacific region.
After their meeting this afternoon, Work and Takeda held a joint press conference to discuss major efforts underway to improve the alliance and its contributions to the region.
Work and the Japanese ministers discussed efforts to modernize the U.S.-Japan Alliance through the revision of the Guidelines for Defense Cooperation; progress on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, particularly in Okinawa; and bilateral efforts to enhance alliance force posture and capabilities.
They also discussed the regional security environment, including the importance of deterring North Korean provocations by enhancing trilateral cooperation with the Republic of Korea and increasing bilateral Ballistic Missile Defense cooperation. On this, the Ministers highlighted progress on deploying a second TPY-2 BMD radar system to Japan by the end of this year.
Work strongly welcomed Japan’s recent decision on Collective Self-Defense, which, when implemented, will enable a substantive revision to the bilateral Defense Guidelines and allow the Japan Self-Defense Forces to increase their role in the alliance and contribute more to regional and global security.
At the press conference, Work began his remarks with a personal message for the people of Japan.
“I want to express my deepest condolences and those of the American people to the families who lost their loved ones in the mudslide in Hiroshima,” he said of the rain-triggered mud flows that have killed more than 35 people, according to news reports. Many more people remain missing.
“Our thoughts go out to all those who have been impacted by this awful tragedy,” Work added.
The deputy defense secretary said he and Takeda agree that the U.S.-Japan alliance is strong. Work added that it is a cornerstone of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific and a critical part of the U.S. rebalance to the region.
“The Asia-Pacific rebalance, and particularly our alliances and partnerships in the region,” Work said, “are the highest priority” for President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
During the visits Work completed this week to Guam and South Korea, he said he saw first-hand the significant progress made to bolster U.S. force posture in the region.
In Guam, he also saw Japanese-funded projects that are helping the United States build infrastructure there to ease the relocation of Marines from Okinawa, and to continue to transform the island into an important strategic hub for the Asia-Pacific.
“In my meeting with Vice Minister Takeda,” Work said, “I emphasized the central role Japan plays in our r