DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2017 — In a Tokyo meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reaffirmed the strength of the U.S.- Japanese alliance, Pentagon spokesman Navy Cmdr. Gary Ross said.
Mattis arrived in Japan today from South Korea on his first overseas trip since taking office last month.
In a statement summarizing the meeting, Ross said the secretary noted that this trip emphasizes the priority the new administration places on the Asia-Pacific region and the importance of the long-term U.S. alliance with Japan.
“He also underscored that the United States remains steadfast in its commitment to defend Japan in the face of common threats, such as those posed by North Korea,” the spokesman said.
Mattis also confirmed the long-standing U.S. position on Japan’s territorial dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands: to apply the U.S.-Japan security treaty to all areas under Japanese administration and to continue strong opposition to any unilateral coercive action that seeks to undermine Japan’s administrative control of the islands, Ross said. The secretary also thanked Abe for Japan’s noteworthy contributions to regional and global security and to the U.S.-Japan alliance, he added.
The secretary also thanked Japan for hosting 54,000 U.S. troops and their family members to support the alliance, the spokesman said, as well as for Japan’s continued support to U.S. force realignment plans in Japan.
Mattis also reaffirmed the alliance’s unwavering commitment to the replacement facility for the Marine Corps’ Futenma air station as part of a realignment of U.S. forces on the Japanese island of Okinawa, Ross said.