U.S. Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia and Pacific Security David Shear recently visited Tokyo, Japan for the release of an interim report on reviewing U.S.-Japan Guidelines for Defense Cooperation.
A year ago, Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced in Tokyo their intention to review the U.S.-Japan Guidelines for Defense Cooperation.
“The fact we have issued an interim report on a work in progress reflects the commitment to transparency that has been a hallmark of U.S.-Japan cooperation,” Assistant Secretary Russel said. “These bilateral defense guidelines serve as the policy framework that helps define our roles and our missions and our alliance capabilities.”
A similar review was last updated in 1997.
“It’s worth asking ourselves what’s different today than in 1997,” Assistant Secretary Russel said. “We have long-standing and frankly growing threats, such as the ongoing North Korean nuclear weapons program and ballistic missile program.”
But new challenges have also emerged.
“The economic growth that has been a hallmark of the dynamic Asia-Pacific region is a direct function of the ability of all trading nations to utilize international waters, international airspace, and increasingly international cyberspace,” Assistant Secretary Russel emphasized. “It is incumbent on all of us, and certainly on major security contributors like the United States and Japan, to . . . ensure that these common domains remain open to all.”
The updated guidelines aim to provide a framework for the United States, Japan, and other like-minded partners to expand their contributions.
“We want to look at greater flexibility, seamlessness, and an all-of-government approach,” he added. We certainly also will look at ways to cooperate on regional issues, and on capacity-building for our friends and partners in the region, he said.
“This process [of review] is taking a very strong and effective alliance and making it even stronger,” Assistant Secretary Russel said in conclusion. “The stronger the U.S.-Japan Alliance is, the greater our joint contributions to regional and international peace and security.”