JAPANESE DEFENSE MINISTER TOMOMI INADA (through translator): Good morning Mr. Secretary.
Last night we had a very enjoyable and candid discussion during the dinner, and under this beautiful weather, it's an extreme delight for me to welcome, and host you today.
I take your visit to this region, including Japan, for your first trip overseas as a message which shows your sound commitment and your high priority for the Asian Pacific. I welcome your decision for your visit to Japan.
With the security environment surrounding our nation becoming increasingly severe, strong U.S.-Japan alliance is critical as the cornerstone of the peace and stability of this region, as well as Japan. I am determined to work together with you, Mr. Secretary, to even further enhance our alliance relationship.
And of course, South Korea where you have already stopped by, is truly a vital labor for us. I look forward that your visit to this region with lead to in-depth trilateral Japan-United States-Republic of Korea defense cooperation.
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE JIM MATTIS: Thank you Madame Minister for the very warm welcome, and for the dinner last night, where we had a very candid, frank, but very warm discussion about the security situation.
I first served alongside the Japanese Self Defense Forces as a lieutenant in 1972, which is probably long before you were born Madame Minister. It was a delight to be, once again, in front of your troops. This morning they looked very sharp, very impressive. Thank you for the ceremony.
And, of course, our relationship is built on much more than ceremonies, it goes back to many years ago and it will continue as strong as ever. We see the alliance between ourselves, and Japan, as a cornerstone for peace, prosperity, and freedom in the Asian Pacific area.
As you noted Madame Minister, this is my first trip overseas, I thought nothing would demonstrate the high priority we place on this better than making this my first trip to this region. I pledge that we will work closely with you, and I look forward to developing a good relationship between the U.S. Department of Defense and your ministry.
Thank you very much for welcoming me.