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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Audio Top 5 Songs for Week Ending May 23

This week's lineup can be summed up like this: 'It's The Same Old Song' - but they're great songs - featuring Walk The Moon, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
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.
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.
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 Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs