Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, left, and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin before he spoke to the Pentagon in Arlington, Va. on April 4, Photo by Yuko Lanham ARLINGTON, VA.
The Defense Chiefs of both nations, meeting here May 4, reaffirmed the urgency of implementing programs to strengthen their ability to deter and respond to possible threats from China.
During the wide-ranging talks, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and his U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin condemned Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, calling it totally unacceptable as it challenges the world order. They stated that the two countries would continue to provide utmost support to the beleaguered Ukraine.
Kishi pledged to expand Japan's commitment to restore security in Europe.
He said that he was determined to improve Japan's commitment to the security of Europe from a point of view that we can no longer separate the security of the Indo-Pacific from that of Europe.
Austin expressed concern during the 75 minute meeting about China, citing its maritime advances and aggressive behavior in the East China and South China seas.
China's recent behavior poses a serious challenge to common norms, values and institutions that underpin that order, he stated.
Austin reassured Kishi that Article 5 of the Japan-U. The S. Treaty, which stipulates that the United States has an obligation to defend Japan, would be applied if China starts to take control of the disputed Senkaku Islands, which are within the jurisdiction of Okinawa Prefecture in far southern Japan. The uninhabited isles are also claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu Islands.
Austin said that the United States is opposed to any unilateral action that would change the status quo and administration of the islands by Japan.
The two chiefs agreed on the importance of maintaining the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait.
At the outset of the meeting, Austin touched on the U.S. extended deterrence, including the nuclear umbrella for Japan.
He said the United States would continue its unwavering commitment to the defense of Japan to include our extended deterrence commitments using our full range of conventional and nuclear capabilities. Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to use nuclear weapons in relation to the war in Ukraine. North Korea's continued push to advance its nuclear development program is another matter of concern.
Kishi said it is becoming more important for Tokyo and Washington to work together to make sure that U.S. nuclear deterrence remains credible and resolute.
The former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe argued that the two allies should work together to allow U.S. nuclear weapons to be deployed in Japan for use in emergencies.
While some lawmakers in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party support Abe's argument, the current prime minister, Fumio Kishida, is against the proposal.
Austin's assurance regarding U.S. extended deterrence commitments acted to dampen any discussion on the sharing of nuclear weapons.