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NEWS | April 23, 2024

U.S. Indo-Pacific Commander Travels to Japan

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

TOKYO — Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, visited Japan from April 21-23, 2024. This was Aquilino’s final overseas engagement with partners and Allies as commander of USINDOPACOM. Aquilino will be relieved by Adm. Samuel Paparo during a change of command ceremony, May 3. 

Aquilino met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida; Japanese Minister of Defense Minoru Kihara; Chief of Staff, Japan Joint Staff, Gen. Yoshihide Yoshida; Ambassador Rahm Emanuel, the U.S. ambassador to Japan; and other senior government and military officials to reaffirm the importance of the U.S.-Japan strategic partnership. He also participated in an award ceremony with Japanese Minister of Defense Minoru Kihara. 

Throughout his trip, Aquilino was accompanied by Lt. Gen. Ricky Rupp, commander of United States Forces Japan, who oversees the U.S.-Japan military relationship. They discussed recent trilateral efforts between U.S., Japan and Philippine forces following the White House-led first trilateral summit between the three countries, which recommitted to defending peace and security in the region and upholding ironclad alliance agreements. 

His meeting with senior Japanese leadership and Emanuel built upon a recent visit between President Joe Biden and Kishida in Washington, in which the two leaders continued to strengthen defense and security cooperation, discussed advanced Capabilities Cooperation under AUKUS Pillar II, and furthered commitments to trilateral operations. 

During an award ceremony, Kihara presented Aquilino with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun, the highest class in the Order. The award, signed by His Majesty the Emperor Naruhito, recognizes the contributions Aquilino has made to strengthen bilateral relations and promote friendship between Japan and the U.S.     

The U.S.-Japan Alliance continues to be the cornerstone of regional peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific. USINDOPACOM remains committed to the unwavering defense of Japan under the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security and will continue to enrich the bilateral relationship through cooperation, commitment to regional security, and a shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.