Article V of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty states the United States’ “ironclad” commitment to defend all of Japan, including the Senkaku Islands and other territories, said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III.

The Senkaku Islands, claimed by China, are in the East China Sea, about 43 miles northeast of Taiwan. 

Austin provided remarks today, hosting an enhanced honor cordon and meeting, welcoming Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara to the Pentagon.

“This is a time of historic momentum in the U.S.-Japan alliance. We support your government’s bold decisions to invest in advanced capabilities including counterstrike, and to increase defense spending to 2% of Japan’s gross domestic product by 2027,” Austin said.  

Japan and the U.S. face major challenges including China’s coercive behavior, North Korea’s dangerous provocations and Russia’s reckless war of choice against Ukraine, he said.

The U.S. and Japan share a vision for a free, open, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, Austin said.

“Our force posture is becoming more versatile, more mobile and more resilient. And we’re also investing in stronger ties with our friends across the region,” he said, including South Korea. 

Japan, South Korea and the U.S. are dedicated to mutual defense, including exercising combined forces under a multiyear, trilateral framework, sharing real-time missile warning data and strengthening secure lines of communication, Austin said. 

The United States is also encouraged to see Japan working more closely with allies like Australia, he said, noting that in exercises last month, F-35A fighter jets from Australia operated in Japan within days of F-35s from Japan flying over Australia.

Austin congratulated Kihara on his appointment to defense minister last month.

Kihara said he looks forward to strengthening Japan’s defense capabilities to deter aggression in the region. 

Japan appreciates America’s ironclad commitment to defend Japan and will work in close cooperation on strengthening the alliance, Kihara said.

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