Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III Remarks With Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi in Tokyo, Japan

March 16, 2021
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LLOYD J. AUSTIN III:  Well, thank you, Minister Kishi, for your warm welcome and for hosting our team despite the challenges from COVID-19.  Please thank your troops on our behalf for that spectacular show of professionalism that we just witnessed.  They are marvelous.

I'm pleased to be in Japan on my first international trip as secretary of defense.  The U.S.-Japan alliance is strong, and I look forward to turning the path toward continued success in the future.

It is especially meaningful to have here so close to the 10th anniversary of 3/1 -- 3/11 Great East Japan Earthquake.  It was a terrible event that we responded to hand-in-hand, as the closest of allies, exemplified in the spirit of Operation Tomodachi.

I'd also like to offer my condolences for the tragic incident back in February, where both of our nations lost two young service members near Montgomery, Alabama, as you mentioned.  These young men embodied the hope, the promise and patriotism so common in the people of our two countries, and our hearts go out to both of their families.  It is, indeed, a solemn reminder of the tremendous sacrifices of our brave men and women in uniform that they make every day to keep our countries safe.

Yet today, our alliance forges on, resolute and resilient in the face of our shared challenges.  Without question, the U.S.-Japan alliance remains a cornerstone in addressing today's and tomorrow's challenges, as we work together to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific.  And I am confident that working together we can meet any challenge and outmatch any competitor in the years ahead.

Thanks again, Mr. Minister, for hosting us today.  And I look forward to a productive discussion.