An official website of the United States Government 
Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

.gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Austin Says U.S. Committed to Defending Japan, Including Senkaku Islands

Article V of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty states the United States' "ironclad" commitment to defend all of Japan, including the Senkaku Islands and other territories, said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III.

Jets fly in formation.
On the Move
U.S. and Japan Air Self-Defense Force jets fly in the vicinity of the Senkaku Islands, Japan, Aug. 15, 2017.
Photo By: Courtesy Japan Air Self-Defense Force
VIRIN: 170816-O-DO439-0001

The Senkaku Islands, claimed by China, are in the East China Sea, about 43 miles northeast of Taiwan. 

Austin provided remarks today, hosting an enhanced honor cordon and meeting, welcoming Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara to the Pentagon.

A U.S. and a Japanese defense leader stand at the top of the Pentagon steps during a ceremony.
Bilateral Exchange
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Japan's Defense Minister Minoru Kihara participate in a bilateral exchange at the Pentagon, Oct. 4, 2023.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Cesar J. Navarro
VIRIN: 231004-D-GD090-1075

"This is a time of historic momentum in the U.S.-Japan alliance. We support your government's bold decisions to invest in advanced capabilities including counterstrike, and to increase defense spending to 2% of Japan's gross domestic product by 2027," Austin said.  

Japan and the U.S. face major challenges including China's coercive behavior, North Korea's dangerous provocations and Russia's reckless war of choice against Ukraine, he said.

The U.S. and Japan share a vision for a free, open, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, Austin said.

A crowd of people walk up and down a street.
Mountain Watch
Mount Fuji watches over the Fuji Friendship Festival at Combined Arms Training Center Fuji, Gotemba, Japan, May 7, 2016. The festival included fun and games for all ages and live music from local artists and the U.S. 7th Fleet Band’s Orient Express.
Photo By: Marine Corps Cpl. Janessa Pon
VIRIN: 160507-M-TA471-009A

"Our force posture is becoming more versatile, more mobile and more resilient. And we're also investing in stronger ties with our friends across the region," he said, including South Korea. 

Japan, South Korea and the U.S. are dedicated to mutual defense, including exercising combined forces under a multiyear, trilateral framework, sharing real-time missile warning data and strengthening secure lines of communication, Austin said. 

The United States is also encouraged to see Japan working more closely with allies like Australia, he said, noting that in exercises last month, F-35A fighter jets from Australia operated in Japan within days of F-35s from Japan flying over Australia.

Austin congratulated Kihara on his appointment to defense minister last month.

Helicopters taxi on a runway.
Taxi Time
Marine Corps UH-1Y Venom helicopters and AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 169, deployed to 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, taxi at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan, Oct. 3, 2023.
Photo By: Marine Corps Cpl. Tyler Andrews
VIRIN: 231003-M-WE079-1059

Kihara said he looks forward to strengthening Japan's defense capabilities to deter aggression in the region. 

Japan appreciates America's ironclad commitment to defend Japan and will work in close cooperation on strengthening the alliance, Kihara said.

Related Stories