Lloyd Austin and Yasakazu Hamada, defense ministers of the United States and Japan, met on Thursday 12 at the Pentagon headquarters in the state of Virginia, where they confirmed their intention to improve the level of preparation and combat of their troops as allies.
As explained by the US Department of Defense, they agreed to hold close consultations on the role of the alliance between Washington and Tokyo and the division of tasks to improve Japan’s attack capacity.
At the end of 2022, Japan announced that it would reform its national security strategy to allow its Self-Defense Force to carry out attacks against enemy military bases, a measure that Tokyo justifies due to ballistic threats from neighboring countries such as North Korea and China, and that it obtained the support of the United States.
During the meeting, Lloyd Austin confirmed Washington’s unconditional support for this measure, both because of China’s coercive activities in the Taiwan Strait and in waters close to Japan, and because of the increase in North Korea’s provocations.
He also stressed the need to reorganize the US troops stationed in Japan and optimize the combat capabilities of both allies. Thus, he described the creation of a rapid response unit MLR (or Marine Littoral Regiment) in the Marine Corps stationed in Okinawa as “a historic milestone in the Washington-Tokyo alliance.”
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