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U.S.-Japan Defense Leaders Look to Strengthen Rules-Based Order

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III told Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada that the U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of security in the Indo-Pacific and pledged to make the already close alliance even closer.

The two men met and held meetings in the Pentagon today. While the two have spoken before, this is Hamada's first meeting with Austin. Hamada previously served as defense minister in 2008-2009.

Two men gather on the steps on the Pentagon as service member carrying rifles stand in parallel lines.
Honor Cordon
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III hosts an honor cordon welcoming Japan's Minister of Defense Yasukazu Hamada to the Pentagon, Sept. 14, 2022.
Photo By: Lisa Ferdinando, DOD
VIRIN: 220914-D-BN624-0067

Austin said the United States and Japan are bound together by ties of friendship and trust. The two nations also share common interests and a belief in democracy. 

"We also share a vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, and a rules-based international order," the secretary said. "But China's recent aggressive behavior and Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, are serious challenges to that vision." 

Austin minced no words in discussing the threats in the globe today. "Let's be clear, China's coercive actions in the Taiwan Strait, and the waters surrounding Japan are provocative, destabilizing and aggressive," he said. "Our response, together with Japan and our other allies and partners, had been responsible, steady and resolute." 

Austin emphasized America's commitment to the defense of Japan saying it includes "our commitment to credible and resilient extended deterrence, using the full range of our conventional and nuclear capabilities."

U.S. Air Force cargo planes skirt a mountain.
In Formation
A formation of C-130J Super Hercules fly to the Fuji Training Center, Japan, before a taking part in a container delivery system bundle drop, as part of the Airborne 22 exercise earlier this year.
Photo By: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Gustavo Castillo
VIRIN: 220126-F-VI983-0276
Japanese soldiers egress a training building.
Iron Fist
Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers bound between buildings during a simulated combat assault as part of exercise Iron Fist 2022 at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 14, 2022.
Photo By: Marine Cpl. Aidan Hekker
VIRIN: 220114-M-HP224-1051

Hamada agreed, saying through a translator that no country has the right to change the rules-based order unilaterally.

Hamada also wants to work closely with the United States to modernize the overall alliance and, specifically, Japanese military capabilities.

Austin said the two leaders would discuss ways to bolster the free and open Indo-Pacific and said the United States would like to deepen cooperation with other like-minded nations, "including building upon recent trilateral engagements with South Korea and Australia."

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