U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently visited Japan on the first stop of her Asia trip. Both Secretary Clinton and Japan's Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone emphasized the importance of maintaining the strength of the U.S.-Japan security alliance.
To that end, Secretary Clinton signed the Guam International Agreement, which will move eight-thousand American troops from Okinawa to Guam. "This agreement," said Secretary of State Clinton, "reflects the commitment we have to modernize our military posture in the Pacific. It reinforces the core of our alliance – the mission to defend Japan against attack and to deter any attack by all necessary means."
There are currently about thirteen thousand Marines stationed on Okinawa, and twenty-three thousand U.S. troops there overall. They are part of about fifty-thousand U.S. troops deployed in Japan under a post-World War Two mutual security pact.
The Six Party Talks aimed at getting North Korea to give up its nuclear programs were also a subject of discussion between Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Nakasone, who both "agreed to further step up Japan-U.S. coordination and Japan, U.S., and South Korea coordination towards the realization of complete denuclearization of the peninsula."
The Secretary also vowed to continue to support Japan in its efforts with North Korea to resolve Japan's concerns about the status of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea during the 1970s and '80s.
Secretary Clinton invited Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso to Washington. He will be the first foreign leader to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House. The February 24th summit demonstrates the commitment of the world's two largest economies to deal with the global financial crisis.
Japan has been a valuable security partner of the United States for almost fifty years. The United States looks forward to continuing to work with Japan to meet the military, diplomatic, and economic challenges that lie ahead.