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Austin, Japan's Defense Minister Pledge to Defend Rules-Based Order

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi pledged to work together to defend the international rules-based architecture wherever it is threatened.

American and Japanese flag fly side-by-side against blue sky.
Two Flags
An American flag and a Japanese flag fly at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Nov. 5, 2019, during a bilateral military symposium.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Peter Reft
VIRIN: 191105-F-YW474-156Y

The treaty allies met at the Pentagon today, with the Japanese minister saying that since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February "the world has drastically changed." 

Kishi said the Russian attack on Ukraine and North Korea's continuing launches of ballistic missiles are absolutely unacceptable. 

"We are here because the U.S.-Japan alliance remains a cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific," Austin said at the beginning of the meeting. "Our two countries are bound by deep friendship and trust, as well as by common interests and shared values." 

But those interests and values are under attack, the secretary said, and the United States and Japan must work closely together to counter the threats emanating from Russia, China and North Korea. "Russia's baseless, and the reckless invasion of Ukraine is an affront to the rules-based international order, and it poses a challenge to free people everywhere," he said. 

Two men sit at a table.
Ramstein Meeting
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley attend the Ukraine Defense Consultative Group meeting at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, April 26, 2022.
Photo By: Chad J. McNeeley
VIRIN: 220426-D-TT977-0323

Austin said Japan reiterated its commitment at last week's meeting of defense ministers. Kishi attended the meeting of the Ukraine Security Consultative Group last week in Ramstein Air Base, Germany. "Your presence underscored Japan's commitment to helping the Ukrainian people defend their sovereignty now and over the long haul," Austin said. 

While Russia has gained the headlines, Austin said China also poses a threat to the rules-based order. "China's recent behavior poses a profound challenge to common norms, values and institutions that underpin that order," Austin said. 

The two men and their staffs discussed ways to ensure the Indo-Pacific region remains open and free. Japan is a treaty ally of the United States, and Austin reaffirmed America's "unwavering commitment to the defense of Japan to include our extended deterrence commitments using our full range of conventional and nuclear capabilities."  

Soldiers freefall with parachutes after jumping out of an aircraft.
Japan Jump
A U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules aircraft carries Japanese soldiers during a bilateral airborne jump over Japan, April 19, 2022.
Photo By: Yasuo Osakabe, Air Force
VIRIN: 220419-F-PM645-0006M
Medical personnel run toward two service members lying on the ground.
Medic Competition
Navy corpsmen compete against Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force medics to place a tourniquet on a casualty at Combined Arms Training Center Camp Fuji, Japan, March 21, 2022. The corpsmen and medics worked together to set up a shock trauma platoon, which enables the quick stabilization of casualties in a field environment.
Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Cesar Alarcon
VIRIN: 220321-M-WN068-1006

The two nations share much in common, and the leaders will look at ways to better align defense strategies and optimize force posture in the region. "We'll also discuss ways to further deepen our cooperation with other like-minded partners, including the Quad [Partnership] …  and South Korea," the secretary said. 

"The Quad Partnership" refers to the U.S., Australia, India and Japan. 

Kishi unequivocally emphasized that Russia's invasion of Ukraine means that the Japanese can no longer separate the security of the Indo-Pacific from that of Europe. 

The defense minister said "there is no time to lose" in strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance. 

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