Japan, U.S. defense ministers call to reconfirm U.S. responsibility for defense of Diaoyu Islands

Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi held a telephone conversation with Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Miller on 14 March. In light of President Trump’s abrupt dismissal of former U.S. Defense Secretary Esper, the move was aimed at communicating between Japan and the U.S. after the transition from the old to the new.

The meeting, which was called for by the U.S., lasted 35 minutes on the morning of the 14th, Japan time, and began with Miller introducing himself and exchanging opinions on the situation in the East and South China Seas.

The two sides also exchanged views on the importance of the U.S.-Japan alliance and the current status of North Korea’s ballistic missile development. The two sides also agreed on close cooperation between the two sides in the future and joint response to security issues.

Nobuo Kishi expressed concern about China’s expanding military influence in the East and South China Seas. The two also talked about the defense of the Diaoyu Islands, reaffirming the application of Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, which stipulates the U.S. defense obligations to Japan.

Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono told the media on June 15 at the Ministry of Defense that he would halt plans to advance the deployment of a land-based missile interceptor system, the Land-based Aegis System, in Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the media at his residence on June 16 that he had agreed with the Ministry of Defense to halt the deployment plan of the land-based Aegis system, a missile interceptor system that had previously been deployed in Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures.

Around the Japanese “land-based Aegis system” plan alternative, the two reaffirmed that including the technical level, Japan and the United States will work closely together.

The two also agreed that Japan and the United States would cooperate in detecting and punishing “reverse shipments” of goods transferred by the DPRK at sea to escape UN Security Council sanctions.