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American Forces Press Service

In Tokyo, Dempsey Reinforces U.S.-Japan Alliance

By Lisa Ferdinando
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

TOKYO, March 25, 2015 – The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff today underscored the importance of the U.S.-Japanese alliance as he met here with Japan's senior military and political leaders.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey thanked Japan for its strong partnership with the United States, as well as its contributions to global security and commitment in the fight against terrorism.

Dempsey met at the Ministry of Defense with his counterpart, Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, and Defense Minister Gen Nakatani. He paid a visit later in the day to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Dempsey complimented the prime minister for all he has done to improve the posture of Japan in a complex security environment.

'The kizuna between us has never been stronger,' the chairman said, using the Japanese word for bonds or connections between people.

He said he looks forward to working with Japan under the new defense guidelines that Japan and the United States are developing to define their bilateral defense relationship.

The prime minister, who is to meet with President Barack Obama in Washington next month, said the alliance between the United States and Japan has contributed to the peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region.

More Complicated World

Extremism is a common challenge faced by the United States and Japan, Dempsey said at the Ministry of Defense. Terrorists in Syria killed two Japanese hostages earlier this year, he said, and three Japanese tourists were killed when gunmen opened fire in a Tunisia museum last week.

The global security environment has 'clearly become more complicated' in the last few years, the chairman said. In that time, the relationship between the United States and Japan has strengthened, he added.

'We're fortunate to have Japan as an ally and honored to have you as a friend,' Dempsey told his counterpart.

Dempsey, the highest-ranking U.S. military officer, thanked Japan for its efforts for missile defense interoperability, noting that a strong deterrent is needed in the face of North Korean provocations.

Dempsey Honors Fallen Troops

In a ceremony before the talks at the Ministry of Defense, Dempsey took part in a wreath-laying ceremony to honor fallen Japanese and U.S. troops. He said he was honored to have been invited to pay tribute to the men and women of both nations' armed forces.

Then, before entering the Ministry of Defense, Dempsey attended an honor cordon, where he reviewed the Japanese troops who were assembled in perfect order outside the building.

Additionally, in an evening event, Nakatani presented Dempsey with a medal on behalf of Japan's emperor to honor the chairman's service, the United States military and the strong U.S.-Japanese alliance.

Dempsey accepted the award, as he told the prime minister earlier in the day, on behalf of the men and women of the United States armed forces who have 'benefited so much and enjoyed the relationship' with Japan.

Pacific Rebalance

The chairman said the purpose of his visit to Japan and his next stop in South Korea is to further strengthen ties and reinforce the U.S. commitment to the region as the U.S. military continues its Pacific rebalance.

Other topics in South Korea are expected to include transferring control of allied forces on the Korean Peninsula to South Korea during wartime, as well as integrated air and missile defense, training exercises and options for responding to North Korean provocations.

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