Tokyo, Jun 1 (EFE).- Japan and the United States agreed Thursday to continue strengthening their defensive alliance and improve their joint operations, including strengthening Japanese counterattack capabilities to enhance their deterrent potential.
In a meeting in Tokyo, Japanese Defense Minister Katsuhiro Hamada and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin agreed to “deepen bilateral cooperation.”
Hamada welcomed “progress” in the talks, including Japan’s so-called counter capabilities to launch pre-emptive strikes, adding that the two agreed on “the importance of increasing these capabilities.”
Japan’s Defense Minister said he had held a “frank” meeting with Austin and said that steps to strengthen their alliance could include the potential joint development of interceptors using hypersonic technology.
“I strongly support Japan’s updated national security policies, including decisions to increase defense spending and acquire counterattack capabilities,” Austin said at the joint appearance, adding that both countries “have made impressive progress together” and that he is confident the alliance “will be further strengthened.”
Austin said the armed forces of both countries “are operating and training together like never before” to respond to common threats such as North Korean weapons development, including yesterday’s space launch, Russian aggression against Ukraine and “the challenges surrounding China.”
Asked about Japan’s decision to purchase American Tomahawk cruise missiles, announced a few months ago, Minister Hamada said the purchase would contribute to “increasing deterrence” for Japan in the current climate of increased weapons and tension between countries in the region.
Austin called for “deepening security cooperation” with like-minded countries in the area, such as Australia, South Korea, India and the Philippines, during the so-called Shangri-La Dialogue, held from Thursday until Sunday in Singapore.
Greater collaboration with like-minded countries in the region such as Seoul can help “to act quickly in a constructive manner” in the face of possible contingencies, Hamada added. EFE