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People's Daily Online

Japan, U.S. DMs agree to speed up defense guidelines revision

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 16:02, April 08, 2015

TOKYO, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Japanese and U.S. defense ministers agreed on Wednesday to speed up work on revising their bilateral defense cooperation guidelines, while stressing the necessity to build a new base in Okinawa to replace the U.S. Marine Corp's Futenma Base.

'The new guidelines will transform the U.S.-Japan alliance, expanding opportunities in the U.S. armed forces and the Japan Self-Defense Forces to cooperate seamlessly,' U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told a joint press conference after talking with his Japanese counterpart Gen Nakatani.

The visit coincides with the first update of the U.S.-Japan defense guidelines since 1997, a revision that will expand the scope for interaction between the two allies in line with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to ease the constraints of Japan's pacifist Constitution on the nation's military.

Regarding the U.S. Marine Corp's Futenma Air Base relocation issue, the two ministers insisted that building a new facility in Hakone, a coastal area of Nago also in Okinawa prefecture, is 'the only viable solution,' despite strong opposition from local residents.

Residents in Okinawa hope the Futenma Air Base, located in a crowded residential area, could be moved out of the prefecture. However, rifts have deepened over the base transfer issue as Tokyo ignores local calls.

The Asia tour, Carter's first as the U.S. defense chief, will also take him to South Korea.

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