In Japan, Carter Reports
Progress on Major Issues
By Cheryl Pellerin, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. — (DoD
News) — April 9, 2015 — In Yokota yesterday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter
reported progress in talks with Japanese officials on the U.S.-Japan Defense
Guidelines for Defense Cooperation and on a proposed regional regulatory and
investment treaty called the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Speaking with reporters who are traveling with Carter on his first official
trip as defense secretary to Northeast Asia, the secretary discussed the purpose
of his visit to Japan and progress made on longstanding issues.
“The purpose of my visit was to prepare the way for … the so-called ‘2+2’
meeting, which is the meeting of foreign ministers and Secretary of State John
Kerry and also the defense ministers, which occurs later this month,” Carter
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter at
Yokota Air Base
The 2+2 meeting itself is a preparatory meeting in advance of Japanese Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit here to meet with President Barack Obama.
U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines
“I had the opportunity to make progress and to discuss two very important
things, Carter said, referring to the U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines for Defense
Cooperation and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership or TPP.
In October, the United States and Japan jointly released an interim report of
ongoing revisions of the U.S.-Japan defense cooperation guidelines, according to
the U.S. State Department’s website.
The revised guidelines, expected to be finalized by the end of the year, will
establish an expanded and more flexible framework for alliance cooperation to
ensure the peace and security of Japan under any circumstances, from peacetime
to contingencies, the website said, and to promote a stable, peaceful and
“This is an historic moment for the U.S.-Japan relationship,” Carter said.
“Japan is … changing its security posture in important and truly historic ways
and we, accordingly, are changing our relationship to evolve with them.”
The secretary said the update of the guidelines is significant because it
opens new possibilities for the United States and Japan to work together in
“We can work in new domains like space and cyberspace, and we can cooperate
in new ways, both regionally and globally,” he added.
Carter said the agreement has many dimensions and represents a modernization
of the alliance.
Lasting Security Relationship
“To me it shows how lasting a security relationship with the United States is,”
the secretary added. “We've had it [with Japan] for many decades and of course
it's been instrumental in keeping peace and stability in this part of the
Such stability has led to the uplifting of many people economically and
politically in the region, Carter said. “And that hasn't happened automatically,”
he added. “It’s happened because of the United States' military role out here.”
Carter said the TPP is an important part of the U.S.-Japan relationship and
relationships among many countries in the region. The treaty, he said,
“reinforces that the strategic approach to this part of the world is not just a
military matter. It's economic and political as well [and] it's extremely
Missile Defense Preparations
In response to a question about North Korea’s firing of two short-range
surface-to-air missiles off its west coast earlier today, Carter called it a
reminder of how tense things are on the Korean Peninsula.
“That’s the reason I'm going to talk to our own commanders and troops, and
very importantly to the government of South Korea, which like Japan is a
longstanding, very staunch ally out here,” he said. The show of North Korean
aggression, Carter added, “reinforces the missile-defense preparations we've
long had on the Korean Peninsula and have here.”
More broadly than missiles, Carter said the missile launch is a reminder of
how dangerous things are on the Korean Peninsula, and how a highly ready force
in support of a strong ally is needed to keep the peace.
“That’s what we'll be talking about and visiting with the South Korean
government about over the next couple of days,” Carter said, “the health of our
alliance and the importance of our alliance to peace and security on the
(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter: @PellerinDoDNews)
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