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Abe briefs efforts on collective defense to U.S. Hagel

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday briefed visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel about his efforts to reinterpret the country's pacifist constitution to allow Japan to exercise collective self-defense rights.

During a meeting held in Tokyo, Abe commented the Japan-U.S. bilateral alliance as robust, adding the bilateral security tie remains unchanged.

As to the controversial issue of remove the key U.S. Futenma air station located in Japan's southernmost island prefecture of Okinawa, Abe called for U.S. understanding of local request to close the airbase within five years.

For his part, Hagel hailed the Japanese leader's efforts to allow the Japanese Self-Defense Forces to engage in the rights of collective self-defense.

Hagel responded noncommittally on the shutdown of the Futenma airbase, local media cited Japanese officials as reporting, adding the U.S. defense chief, however, hailed the approval of landfill work in Okinawa to build a replacing facility for the airbase.

Hagel, who is in a three-day visit to Japan through Monday, will also hold talks with his Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida separately on Sunday.

[Source: Xinhua, Tokyo, 05Apr14]

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East China Sea Conflict
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