Carter, Japanese Counterpart Discuss Common Issues
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan, March 17, 2013 On the first stop of his weeklong trip to Asia, Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter met today with Senior Vice Defense Minister Akinori Eto at Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo.
During a substantive meeting here, the defense leaders discussed issues of importance to the U.S.-Japan alliance, a cornerstone of peace and stability for Japan and across the Asia-Pacific region, according to senior defense officials traveling with Carter.
Carter and Eto discussed the region’s security situation, including the threat from North Korea, which last month conducted its third nuclear test. Last April, North Korea displayed what looked to be a mobile intercontinental ballistic missile and in December launched a Taepodong-2 missile that put a satellite into orbit.
Such exploits demonstrate North Korean progress in developing long-range missile technology, and today Carter affirmed the steadfast and enduring U.S. commitment to the defense of Japan.
The deputy secretary highlighted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's announcement on Friday that outlined a series of steps the United States will take to stay ahead of the challenge posed by North Korea's development of such technology.
Carter and Eto also discussed the U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines, which define what roles the U.S. military and Japan’s Self-Defense Forces would play if Japan would come under attack.
Other topics included the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, the relocation of Marines to Guam as part of the rebalance to Asia, and the future of the alliance, officials said.
The men pledged to stay in contact and to maintain close cooperation on critical issues, and both expressed a desire to have Hagel and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera meet in the near future.
As Carter continues his Asia trip, he will meet tomorrow with defense officials in Seoul, and then travel to Manila in the Philippines and to Jakarta in Indonesia before returning to the United States March 21.