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Hagel reiterates U.S.-Japan alliance

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Friday met with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera at Pentagon, reiterating importance and reinforcement of U. S.-Japan partnership and alliance.

"We discussed in our meeting prior to this conference what the United States and Japan are doing together to modernize our alliance and to ensure it's prepared this alliance to address emerging threats and challenges," Hagel said at a press briefing after his meeting with Onodera.

As Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has led efforts in Tokyo to reinterpret his country's constitution to allow for so called " collective defense", U.S. and Japanese officials are therefore working on revising their defense relationship.

As part of the initiative, Hagel said the U.S. is hoping Japan will be able to take a greater role in regional defense initiatives in Asia.

"Japan's collective self-defense decision and the revised defense guidelines will allow Japan to participate more actively in areas such as ballistic missile defense, counter-proliferation, counter-piracy, peacekeeping, and a wide range of military exercises," he said.

The United States and Japan's treaty alliance has been a foundation for peace, prosperity, and stability in the Asia Pacific region for more than six decades, he noted, adding that they are committed to ensuring it remains that way for decades to come.

Onodera said he and Hagel agreed progress on the revision of the 1997 guidelines for Japan-U.S. defense cooperation and that an interim report on the revision will be released at an appropriate timing.

"We also agreed to further deepen specific bilateral cooperation on equipment and technology in accordance, and we'd like to deepen our cooperation in accordance," he said.

The two defense chiefs also discussed issues about U.S. military base in Okinawa, Asia-Pacific regional situation and missile launch by People's Democratic Republic of Korea.

[Source: Xinhua, Washington, 11Jul14]

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