World / Asia-Pacific

Japanese, US defense chiefs meet on boosting security ties

By Xinhua in Tokyo (China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-07 07:40

Japanese, US defense chiefs meet on boosting security ties

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera attend a joint news conference at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo on Sunday. Issei Kato / Reuters

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera held talks on Sunday with visiting US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, centering on improving bilateral defense cooperation.

The two defense chiefs agreed to accelerate work related to revise Japan-US defense cooperation guidelines for the first time in 17 years as Japan attempts to reinterpret its pacifist constitution.

Hagel hailed Japan's engagement in collective self-defense when he met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday, as well as Abe's other moves on changing Japan's defense stance.

As to the controversial issue of relocating the key US Futenma airbase in Okinawa, Japan's southernmost island prefecture, Hagel called for the early completion of a replacing facility for the airbase in Nago, also in Okinawa.

The two defense chiefs also discussed the reduction of the burden on the island prefecture on hosting the majority of US bases in Japan.

Hagel, who is due to arrive in China on Monday, also said that the United States will deploy two Aegis-equipped warships to Japan by 2017 in an effort to help Japan defend itself from missiles launched by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The two ships would join five US Aegis vessels already stationed in Japan.

Japan's defense chief has ordered its Self-Defense Forces to shoot down any ballistic missiles from the DPRK that threaten to hit the country, according to media reports.

Onodera issued the order on Thursday - without publicly announcing it - after the DPRK launched two medium-range ballistic missiles on March 26 towards the Sea of Japan (East Sea), Kyodo News and other media said on Saturday, quoting a government source.

A mid-range missile fired from the DPRK would be capable of reaching Japan.

Under the order, the country's Self-Defense Forces will destroy DPRK ballistic missiles "if any are launched and threaten to fall within Japanese territory", Kyodo report said.

Defense ministry officials could not confirm the reports on Sunday. Japan has issued similar orders in the past before the DPRK launched long-range missiles.

In response to the order, an Aegis-equipped destroyer carrying interceptor missiles has been deployed to the Sea of Japan (East Sea), Kyodo's source was quoted as saying.

The Aegis has sophisticated computer and radar technology to guide weapons to destroy enemy missiles in flight.

The latest shoot-down order brings to five the number of similar directives issued since 2009, the reports said.

AFP contributed to this story.

Trudeau visits Sina Weibo
May gets little gasp as EU extends deadline for sufficient progress in Brexit talks
Ethiopian FM urges strengthened Ethiopia-China ties
Yemen's ex-president Saleh, relatives killed by Houthis
Most Popular
Hot Topics