"The U.S.-Japan alliance is the cornerstone of our engagement in the Asia-Pacific," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell. The alliance has provided a basis for peace and security in the Asia-Pacific for half a century and in many ways brought about the Asian economic miracle and the spread of democracy throughout the region. The U.S. and Japan are firmly committed to promoting global growth, open markets, and an active world trading system.
Over the last 15 years, the U.S. and Japan have worked together to update their alliance through efforts ranging from the force posture realignment to the review of roles, missions, and capabilities. There are more than 48,000 American military personnel deployed in Japan. Through the Defense Policy Review Initiative, the U.S. and Japan made a landmark commitment to carry out changes that will help strengthen the flexibility and deterrent capability of U.S. forces while at the same reducing the number of troops stationed on Japanese soil.
Japan continues to be a valuable partner on issues of regional importance. With regard to North Korea, Japan is a key partner in international efforts to seek the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner. Japan's support of South Korea was vital in rallying the international community to offer a united response to the sinking of the South Korean naval vessel the Cheonan by North Korea.
Japan is no less an ally on the global front. Japan has been active in helping the earthquake victims in Haiti and Chile. And in Iraq, Japan has pledged nearly $5 billion in aid for rebuilding the industrial base and energy, transportation, and irrigation infrastructure. Japan is also a supporter of reconstruction, reintegration, and development in Afghanistan. With a commitment of $5 billion over 5 years, Japan is the second largest single donor, after the United States, to Afghanistan.
"Whatever challenges we may face in the next half century," said Assistant Secretary Campbell, "I am confident that our relationship with Japan will be an important element in our success."