Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Secretary of Defense William Cohen, Minister for Foreign Affairs Keizo Obuchi, and Minister of State for Defense Fumio Kyuma convened the Security Consultative Committee (SCC) in New York on September 23, 1997, to discuss a variety of important issues of bilateral concern, including a review of the "Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation" (the guidelines), issues related to Okinawa, and regional security matters.
This meeting was held at an extremely important milestone which marked the completion of the review of the guidelines.
The guidelines have served since 1978 to enhance a historic bilateral alliance based on the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty of 1960 that has helped to maintain peace, prosperity and security in the Asia-Pacific region.
The two countries agreed in the U.S.-Japan Joint Declaration on Security of April 17, 1996, to further enrich the alliance to meet new security challenges after the Cold War.
The aim of the new guidelines remains the same as that of the 1978 guidelines: to provide a general framework and policy direction for U.S.-Japan defense cooperation under normal circumstances and during contingencies.
The SCC has agreed to start bilateral work immediately under the new guidelines, and has concluded that:
- the establishment of a comprehensive planning mechanism is critically important;
- the Subcommittee for Defense Cooperation (SDC) must promptly complete basic work for bilateral defense planning and mutual cooperation planning;
- the SDC's membership will include the director-general of the Defense Operations Bureau of the Japan Defense Agency;
- the two sides should intensify information and intelligence sharing and policy consultations as they cooperate under the new guidelines.
Throughout the review of the guidelines and as a general principle, the two countries have endeavored to maintain transparency with regard to the U.S.-Japan alliance.
Commitment to transparency has been firm and will continue.
The two sides also discussed the implementation of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) final report.
The final report consists of plans and measures to realign, consolidate, and reduce U.S. facilities and areas in Okinawa and to adjust procedures of U.S. Forces in Okinawa, in order to ease the burden of U.S. Forces' presence on the people of Okinawa.
A key element of the SACO process is the relocation of Futenma Air Station.
The SCC addressed issues involved in this relocation, and the two sides remain committed to ensuring steady implementation of the final report.
The two sides discussed the importance of Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) and confirmed that the bilateral studies will continue.
They also discussed host nation support as an important element in the bilateral relationship.
The United States and Japan exchanged perspectives on the security situation in the region.
They discussed issues concerning the Korean Peninsula.
They shared the view that it is extremely important for the stability and prosperity of the region that China play a positive and constructive role, and in this context, stressed the continued interest of both countries in furthering cooperation with China.
Building upon the achievements of its joint work, the SCC reaffirmed its resolve to address a variety of common security issues for 1997 and beyond by, among other things:
- following-up the new guidelines through appropriate policies and measures developed by the respective governments and through bilateral work;
- continuing close consultations to ensure steady implementation of the SACO final report, including the relocation of Futenma Air Station;
- continuing close consultations on international security matters of mutual interest.
In closing, the United States and Japan agreed that the bilateral alliance continues to promote regional security and pledged to strengthen this important relationship to meet the challenges of a new century as outlined in the "U.S.-Japan Joint Declaration on Security."