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Defense Minister Kono plans to visit U.S. next month

Yomiuri wrote that Defense Minister Kono is planning to visit the United States in mid-January, speculating that he will stop in Hawaii to look at a testing facility for the Aegis Ashore system at a U.S. military base before heading for Washington for talks with Secretary of Defense Esper. The paper wrote that this will be Kono’s first visit to the United States since taking up his current post as defense minister in September. Noting that Foreign Minister Motegi is also making arrangements to meet with Secretary of State Pompeo in San Francisco in mid-January, the paper speculated that the planned visits to the United States by the two Japanese ministers are aimed at demonstrating the strong alliance between Washington and Tokyo ahead of the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty on Jan. 19. The paper also conjectured that Kono is planning to discuss with Secretary Esper the DPRK and Japan’s planned deployment of an MSDF unit to the Middle East. 

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