WASHINGTN -- Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby provided the following readout:
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III held his first in-person bilateral engagement with Japanese Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi, today in Tokyo.
During the meeting, Secretary Austin reaffirmed the importance of the U.S.-Japan Alliance in upholding a free and open Indo-Pacific, and highlighted that the Alliance is the cornerstone of regional security and stability. He also emphasized the need for the Alliance to prepare for long-term challenges.
The two leaders addressed a broad range of defense issues, to include China’s growing capabilities and aggressive actions in the East and South China Seas, the threat from North Korean nuclear and missile programs, the importance of Japan’s role in regional security, advanced capabilities development, building partner capacity, and enhancing multilateral cooperation.
Secretary Austin reaffirmed that the United States remains opposed to unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea and undermine Japan’s administration of the Senkaku Islands, reiterating that Article V of the Mutual Security Treaty applies to the islands.
Secretary Austin and Minister Kishi committed to continue working closely to strengthen the U.S.-Japan defense relationship, including at the Security Consultative Committee later this year.