Secretary of Defense Austin's Remarks at the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee in Tokyo, Japan

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

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LLOYD J. AUSTIN III:  Minister Motegi, Minister Kishi, I want to thank you for your warm welcome, and I offer my profound thanks to the people of Japan for their gracious hospitality.

I am tremendously honored to join all of you here in Tokyo on my first international trip as secretary of defense.  I'm grateful to join my dear colleague Secretary Blinken as we work together to build upon the resolute and resilient bond between our two countries.

As I mentioned to Minister Kishi earlier today, the U.S.-Japan alliance is strong, and I look forward to charting a path towards continued success in the future as we work together to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific.

I am a firm believer in the notion that we are at our strongest when we work together as part of a larger team.  And that's why we stand shoulder-to-shoulder, arm-in-arm with Japan, the cornerstone of the alliance in the Indo-Pacific that has preserved -- preserved peace and security in this region and across the globe for more than half a century.

As we lead with diplomacy on the range of issues that Secretary Blinken mentioned, I want you to know that we at the Department of Defense stand ever ready to buttress the hard work of our diplomats.  Diplomacy and defense complement one another, and together they make us stronger.

Today's meeting is a testament to that premise, as we work together in the spirit of teamwork and cooperation to seize the shared opportunities and address our shared challenges now and in the years ahead.  We -- we need only look at Operation Tomodachi in the wake of the 3/11 tragedy 10 years ago to give us confidence that our resolute and resilient alliance rests firmly on our bonds of friendship and shared sacrifice.

Thanks again for welcoming -- welcoming us today, and I look forward to a productive discussion.