News / Asia

US Stresses Commitment to Defend Japan

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida listens as Secretary of State John Kerry speaks after a meeting at the State Department in Washington, Feb. 7, 2014.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida listens as Secretary of State John Kerry speaks after a meeting at the State Department in Washington, Feb. 7, 2014.
Reuters
The United States on Friday stressed its commitment to the defense of Japan and stability in the Asia-Pacific region against a backdrop of increasingly assertive territorial claims by China.
 
After a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Secretary of State John Kerry emphasized the importance of the U.S.-Japan relationship, which both countries say remains robust in spite of a bump after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited a controversial war shrine in December.
 
Kerry said the United States and Japan were committed to closer security collaboration and stressed the long-standing U.S. commitment to defend Japan if it is attacked.
 
“I ... underscored that the United States remains as committed as ever to upholding our treaty obligations with our Japanese allies,” Kerry told reporters after talks with Kishida.
 
“That includes with respect to the East China Sea,” Kerry said. He reiterated that Washington “neither recognizes nor accepts” an air-defense zone China has declared in the region that it disputes with Japan and other Asia nations. Kerry also said the United States would not change how it conducts operations there.
 
“We are deeply committed to maintaining the prosperity and the stability in the Asia-Pacific,” Kerry said.
 
The United States flew B-52 bombers through the Chinese air defense zone after it was declared last year. U.S. officials have warned that any declaration by Beijing of another such zone in the South China Sea could result in changes to U.S. military deployments in the region.
 
Kerry said he planned to visit China and other Asia countries next week.
 
Kishida's Washington visit comes at a time of growing concerns in Tokyo as to the long-term ability and willingness of the United States to defend Japan in spite of President Barack Obama's stated policy of rebalancing America's military and economic focus toward Asia in response to China's growing clout.
 
Security Revamp
 
Such concerns have added momentum to Abe's drive to beef up Japan's air and naval forces while loosening constitutional limits on action that its military can take abroad.
 
After an agreement drawn up by Kerry and Kishida and their countries' defense ministers last year, the allies have begun revising guidelines on defense cooperation last updated in 1997, aiming to complete a revamp by the end of this year.
 
Washington has long encouraged Tokyo to take a greater share of the bilateral security burden, but U.S. officials have not made clear if they want Japan to acquire greater offensive capability.
 
Kerry made no mention of Abe's controversial visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni war shrine, which prompted an expression of disappointment from Washington and chilled Tokyo's often thorny ties with the other key U.S. ally in North Asia, South Korea.
 
Kishida said there were “difficult issues” between Tokyo and Seoul, but pledged to try to improve ties.
 
“The Republic of Korea is an important neighbor for Japan, so going forward, we will make tenacious efforts to build our cooperative relationship with the Republic of Korea from a broad perspective,” he told the joint briefing with Kerry.
 
Amid competing claims by Seoul and Tokyo for Obama's time during a planned visit to Asia in April, Kishida said the U.S. president was being invited for a state visit.
 
According to Japanese media, officials in Tokyo hope the  ceremonial aspect of such a visit, rather than an official or working trip, would emphasize the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance and ease the mood over Abe's shrine visit.
 
Kerry and Kishida emphasized the importance of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral trade pact Obama has been hoping can be concluded by the time of his Asia trip.
 
Prospects for that have dimmed due to opposition from within Obama's own Democratic Party to granting him fast-track Trade Promotion Authority given concerns that the TPP could cost American jobs.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs