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Immediate Release

Readout of Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper's Meetings in Japan

Department of Defense spokesman Lt. Col. Dave Eastburn provided the following readout:

Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahisa Sato in Tokyo today as the fourth stop in his first visit to the Indo-Pacific region since assuming his position. During all of his meetings, Secretary Esper emphasized the increasingly important role the U.S.-Japan alliance plays in ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific region, reaffirmed commitment to achieving the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea, and discussed approaches to strengthening the capabilities of the Alliance in today's dynamic security environment.

In his meeting with Prime Minister Abe, the Secretary discussed in detail the close coordination of the United States and Japan, working with other partners, to fully implement the sanctions against North Korea, based on U.N. Security Council Resolutions, to prevent illicit ship-to-ship transfers. The Secretary applauded the leadership role of Japan in this effort, and assured the Prime Minister of his commitment with respect to denuclearization of North Korea, including addressing ballistic missiles of all ranges and support for a resolution of the abductee issue.  The Secretary noted Japan's acquisitions of advanced capabilities and the greater roles and missions Japan can assume in making the Alliance ever stronger and more effective.The Secretary thanked Prime Minister Abe for his strong support for U.S. forces in Japan, and the steady implementation of the realignment agreement to ensure stable basing arrangements.

In his meeting with Defense Minister Iwaya, Secretary Esper discussed regional security affairs, including North Korea and China; Japan- U.S. defense cooperation, including respective roles and missions, the acquisition of advanced capabilities, and the importance of information security; and issues regarding U.S. Forces in Japan. Regarding each nation's defense strategy, the Secretary emphasized our common view of the evolving regional security challenges that threaten a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Both leaders committed to increasing our bilateral operational readiness and deepening cooperation in new domains and cross-domain operations. The Secretary expressed his appreciation for Japan's efforts to ensure the steady implementation of the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, especially with respect to the Futenma Replacement Facility and the Field Carrier Landing Practice facility. The Secretary noted efforts to mitigate the impact on local communities of training necessary to maintain readiness of the U.S. Forces.

Secretary Esper thanked Minister Iwaya for his warm hospitality in hosting his first visit to Japan as Secretary of Defense.