Japan and U.S. Agree to Broaden Military Alliance

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U.S. and Japanese officials said they will position a second early-warning radar in Japan within the next year and deploy new long-range surveillance drones to help monitor disputed islands in the East China Sea by next spring.

Against the backdrop of pressing regional tensions, the United States and Japan agreed Thursday to broaden their military alliance, including by adding a new missile defense radar system in Japan and cooperating to combat cyberthreats. The New York Times reports today.

Most significantly, the United States will deploy a new X-band radar system in Kyogamisaki over the next year to better protect both nations against military threats from North Korea.

For the first time, the two countries will work on specific cyberdefense projects to increase cybersecurity in both countries. Further, the United States Marine Corps will replace aging helicopters here with two squadrons of MV-22 aircraft, and will deploy surveillance drones to be based in Japan for the first time. And the P-8, a cutting-edge highly advanced manned reconnaissance airplane, will be deployed for the first time to Japan to help the United States and its allies monitor maritime activities in the Pacific, where Japan and China both claim the same disputed islands.

The Japanese also agreed to offer better military support in global humanitarian relief efforts.

“Our relationship has never been stronger or better than it is today,” Mr. Kerry said. “We are continuing to adapt, however, to confront the different challenges of the 21st century.”

The agreement, signed during a joint visit in Tokyo by Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in a meeting with their Japanese counterparts, signals the United States’ increased military, economic and diplomatic focus on Asia, and it is likely to alarm China, which has had increasingly testy relations with Tokyo.

The deal comes at a time when the Japanese government is seeking to greatly enhance its own military capabilities and to revise its pacifist Constitution, drafted after World War II, paving the way for it to become a more equal partner with the United States in times of conflict.

“Our bilateral defense cooperation, including America’s commitment to the security of Japan, is a critical component of our overall relationship,” Mr. Hagel said during a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday afternoon, “and to the Obama administration’s rebalance to Asia-Pacific.”

Read Jennifer Steinhauer’s article on the New York times.