Deputy Secretary of Defense Spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson provided the following:
Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work visited Japan August 22-23, concluding the last leg of a seven-day tour of Asia that also included visits to Guam, Hawaii, and the Republic of Korea.
The deputy secretary met with senior Government of Japan officials in Tokyo, including Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, Parliamentary Senior Vice Minister of Defense Ryota Takeda, and Parliamentary Senior Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Nobuo Kishi. He also met with service component commanders and U.S. service members.
Work and the Japanese ministers discussed efforts to modernize the U.S.-Japan alliance through the revision of the Guidelines for Defense Cooperation; progress on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, particularly in Okinawa; and bilateral efforts to enhance alliance force posture and capabilities.
They also discussed the regional security environment, including the importance of deterring North Korean provocations by enhancing trilateral cooperation with the Republic of Korea and increasing bilateral Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) cooperation. On this, the Ministers highlighted progress on deploying a second AN/TPY-2 BMD radar to Japan by the end of this year.
Work strongly welcomed Japan's recent decision on collective self-defense, which, when implemented, will enable a substantive revision to the bilateral defense guidelines and allow the Japan Self-Defense Forces to increase their role in the alliance and contribute more to regional and global security. He also reaffirmed the United States' steadfast commitment to the defense of Japan and its resolve to implement the Asia-Pacific rebalance to promote continued peace and prosperity in the region.
In this context, the deputy secretary looks forward to working with the Government of Japan to continue growing and strengthening our robust alliance partnership and advancing the close operational cooperation between the Armed Forces of the United States and the Japan Self Defense Forces.
During his visit, Work also visited Yokota Air Base, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, the guided missile destroyer USS Shiloh, and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni. While visiting MCAS Iwakuni, he reviewed the substantial progress made to realign U.S. forces in Japan, including the recent relocation of KC-130 aerial refueling aircraft from MCAS Futenma in Okinawa. In addition, he highlighted the United States' commitment to deploy its most advanced capabilities to Japan, including the first overseas deployment of the Marine Corps F-35 in 2017. Throughout his visit, he thanked U.S. service members for their service.