NHK reported that National Security Secretariat Secretary General Kitamura held talks with National Security Advisor O’Brien on Thursday in Washington and explained that the policy to further strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance remains unchanged under the Suga Cabinet. He also reportedly said the U.S. and Japan will continue to work closely to strategically promote the “free and open Indo-Pacific” initiative. According to the network, Kitamura explained the alternatives to the canceled Aegis Ashore deployment plan and that the government is working on a new security policy on missile defense. In addition, the network said the two officials exchanged views on bilateral cooperation in economic security and on regional affairs including the security environment in the Indo-Pacific. They reportedly agreed to continue to work together closely.