US, Japan Expand Defense Cooperation

The United States and Japan on Thursday announced an expansion of military cooperation—including rotational deployments of Air Force Global Hawks to Japan—at the conclusion of a “two-plus-two” security dialogue in Tokyo featuring Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry, and their Japanese counterparts. Hagel said the agreement, a revision to the 1997 US-Japan Defense Cooperation Guidelines, will make for a more effective and balanced alliance. The agreement includes realignment plans for US marines on Okinawa as well as Navy and Marine aircraft basing moves. More advanced US capabilities will also come to Japan, with the Global Hawk rotations starting in spring 2014, according to the US-Japan joint statement. Also coming will be two squadrons of Marine Corps MV-22 aircraft; Navy P-8 maritime patrol aircraft beginning in December 2013; and Marine Corps F-35Bs starting in 2017. During his visit to Japan in August, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said US cooperation with Japan has improved greatly in the last several years, and the Japanese were interested in enhancing their intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. (AFPS report by Karin Parrish) (See also US, Japan Strengthen Partnership.)