WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary James N. Mattis met with Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera of Japan at the Pentagon today.
In a statement summarizing the meeting, Pentagon officials said the two leaders discussed ways to further strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance, and positively noting the increasing role the Japan Self-Defense Force is playing in regional security, including supporting the United Nations Security Council Resolution enforcement and mutual asset protection operations.
Recognizing the threat posed by North Korea’s unlawful nuclear and missile programs, Mattis and Onodera affirmed the importance of close cooperation among the U.S., Japan, South Korea and other like-minded nations in providing credible military backing to the maximum pressure campaign, the statement said.
In addition, the men agreed to continue enhancing the alliance capability to deter and respond to any North Korean aggression, the statement said.
Mattis also discussed the recently released U.S. National Defense Strategy, and welcomed Japan’s determination to similarly review its National Defense Program Guidelines by the end of this year, the statement said.
Both leaders reaffirmed the importance of continued progress on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, including recent efforts to realize the permanent location for a field carrier landing facility, the statement said.