Two countries aim to deepen long-term defensive ties amid uncertain regional prospects.
The United States and Japan will sign a new cooperation agreement to counter emerging threats, including hypersonic and space-based weapons, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday.
Foreign and Defense Ministers of the two countries virtually met to discuss the strengthening of security ties amid a focus on Japan’s international role in a week when North Korea tested what it said was a hypersonic missile.
Blinken said the US-Japan alliance “should not only strengthen the tools we have, but also develop new ones”, referring to Russia’s military build-up against Ukraine, Beijing’s “provocative” actions over Taiwan, and the Northern Korean missile launch.
Russia, China and the US are also rushing to build hypersonic weapons whose extreme speed and maneuverability make it difficult to spot and block with existing missiles.
“We are launching a new research and development agreement that will make it easier for our scientists, engineers and program managers to work together on emerging defense-related issues, from countering hypersonic threats to advancing space-based capabilities,” Blinken added. the opening said. of the meeting.
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told his American counterparts that the international community was facing challenges, including “unilateral corrosive efforts to change the status quo, abuse of unfair pressure and the growing authoritarian regimes”.
The meeting between US and Japanese officials comes a day after Japan signed a security agreement with Australia.
The reciprocal access agreement (RAA) – only the second that Japan has signed with a foreign power – was agreed at a virtual meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday.
Morrison gave the RAA a “crucial moment for Australia and Japan“Which will” form an important part “of the two countries’ response to” the uncertainty we now face “.
Japan approved record defense spending last month, with a 10th consecutive annual increase in 2022.
While testing its neighbors hypersonic missiles, Japan worked on electromagnetic “tracking rifle” technology to target those missiles.
Japan and the US are also expected to sign a new five-year agreement on US military bases in Japan, Blinken said, with Japan saying it has agreed to contribute $ 9.3 billion to the maintenance of US forces in Japan. Japan over the period.