Hagel, Onodera discuss American and Japanese security challenges

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Japan Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera met on Monday to discuss security challenges Japan faces and how the U.S. will help ensure stability in the Northeast Asian region.

Hagel and Onodera discussed how the two nations would collaborate on a number of topics including North Korean threats and friction in the East China Sea. The U.S. and Japan are allies and share a mutual goal of keeping peace in Northeast Asia.

The first issue discussed was the potential for conflict with North Korea. The leaders discussed tactics to be used, including a combined missile defense strategy. Hagel announced the U.S. has plans to send a second TPY-2 radar to Japan to screen for ballistic missiles.

"The United States remains steadfast in our defense commitments to Japan, including extended deterrence and a further nuclear umbrella," Hagel said.

The second topic the men discussed involved the tension over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Both China and Japan claim the islands, and the U.S. has been very vocal about their stance of resolving the issue peacefully between all involved parties.

The islands fall under the U.S. security treaty it has with Japan. Although Hagel said the U.S. does not take a side on the issue, he acknowledged it is addressed in Article 5 of the treaty. When U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin E. Dempsey visited China this past week, he discussed the topic, and the U.S.'s stance, with Chinese leaders.

"Any actions that could raise tensions or lead to miscalculations affect the stability of the entire region," Hagel said. "Therefore, the United States opposes any unilateral or coercive action that seeks to undermine Japan's administrative control."

Hagel and Onodori also discussed how to continue the rebalancing of Asia-Pacific regional forces. Both men agreed intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities are a vital part of accomplishing this goal.

"Today we announce the formation of a defense ISR working group to deepen cooperation in this area," Hagel said.

The meeting concluded with Onodera inviting Hagel to Japan for the "Two-Plus-Two" meetings, which involve collaboration between U.S. and Japanese defense and foreign affair ministers.