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US, Japan take Alliance to New Phase Amid Growing Threats in Indo-Pacific


Growing threats in the Indo-Pacific are pushing Japan and the United States to bolster their relationship. 

While the alliance between the two countries remains strong, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin describes this plan as a modernization of the partnership. 

The ultimate goal is to counter threats from both North Korea and China. 

"The U.S.-Japan alliance remains a cornerstone of our Indo-Pacific strategy and it's critical to upholding a free and open regional order," Austin said.

President Biden met with Japan's prime minister Friday to discuss further security in the region, including how to transform Japan into a military power.

"To be crystal clear the United States is fully, thoroughly, completely committed to the alliance, and more importantly to Japan's defense," Biden said during a meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Last month, Japan released a new national security strategy increasing its defense spending to a level in line with the standard set by NATO. The plan includes greater investments in missile technology to be used for offensive operations if needed. 

Austin praised that move this week while announcing a new U.S. deployment arrangement in Japan.

"We welcomed an historic alliance decision to optimize U.S. force posture in Japan by forward-stationing more versatile, mobile, and resilient capabilities. These actions will bolster deterrence in the region and allow us to defend Japan and its people more effectively," said Austin.

The re-structuring of U.S. troops would allow for more efficient movement to other islands along the coast if necessary. They'll also be equipped with advanced intelligence, surveillance, and long-range weapon capabilities that could reach enemy ships. 

"We're replacing an artillery regiment with an outfit that's more lethal, more agile, more capable," Austin said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also announced a new outer space component between the two allies, noting that attacks to, from, or within space present a clear challenge. 

"This agreement has been a decade in the making and it covers everything from joined research to working together to land the first woman and person of color on the moon," Blinken said. 

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