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Remarks by Secretary Mattis and Prime Minister Abe in Tokyo, Japan

PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I hope that you feel welcome in your visit to Japan, and I'd first like to congratulate you on assuming the Office of Secretary of Defense and also the start of the new Trump administration in the United States.

And in particular, I would like to welcome your change in office of secretary of Defense and I was very encouraged to see someone like you could have such -- (inaudible) -- experience both in the military as well as security, defense and the diplomacy taking this office. I also understand that you also served in Okinawa as part of the assignments in the Marine Corps. So I believe that you are quite familiar with the situation surrounding Japan.

When I had a telephone conversation with President Trump last week, he specifically mentioned your visit, and as I said to the president, I highly value the fact that Japan and East Asia was one of the first destinations of your trip as the secretary of defense. And it is a testament of the new administration's emphasis on the Japan-U.S. alliance, as well as security relationship.

And I do have a hope -- also, I am convinced that together with you and also President Trump, we will be able to demonstrate the unwavering alliance between Japan and the United States both to the public inside Japan as well as outside Japan. And also, I do hope that my fellow minister, Ms. Inada will establish a robust relationship of confidence and trust with you, and by doing that, we hope to see robust partnership between the – (inaudible).

Once again, I very much look forward to having my visit to the United States next week and also attending the first -- (inaudible) – summit meeting with President Trump.

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE JIM MATTIS: Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for welcoming me here. It's been many years since I've -- (inaudible) -- Japan as a young officer. It's good to be back.

I trained in Okinawa and also trained at Mount Fuji and I have Japanese friends to this day -- (inaudible) -- stay in touch.

I wanted my first trip to be here to this region. I want there to be no misunderstanding during this transition in Washington that we stand firmly, 100 percent, shoulder-to-shoulder with you and the Japanese people, Mr. Prime Minister.

Due to some of the provocations out of North Korea and other challenges that we jointly face, I want to make certain that Article Five of our mutual defense treaty is understood to be as real to us today as it was a year ago, five years ago and as it will be a year and ten years from now. And I look forward to working with the minister and madam minister and I will take care of all the details, Mr. Prime Minister.