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Defense Secretary Esper, Defense Minister Kishi agree to further strengthen alliance

NHK reported at noon that Defense Minister Kishi held a teleconference today with Secretary of Defense Esper for the first time since taking office, saying the two officials agreed to further strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance in view of China’s advancement in the South and East China Seas and North Korea’s enhanced ballistic missile capabilities. In addition, Kishi reportedly conveyed the GOJ’s intention to decide on an alternative to the Aegis Ashore system by the end of this year and the two ministers confirmed they would work closely on the matter, including the technical aspects. Kishi reportedly told the press after the teleconference: “It was very meaningful that we were able to confirm close cooperation. I hope to continue to build a relationship of trust with the Secretary in order to further strengthen the alliance.” The defense chief also reportedly expressed his willingness to hold a meeting between the defense ministers of Japan, the U.S., Australia, and India.

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