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Kerry arrives in Japan for official visit

October 02, 2013, 2:15 UTC+3

US State Secretary makes a 2-day official visit along with Pentagon head Chuck Hagel

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TOKYO, October 2 (Itar-Tass) - US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Japan on Wednesday for a two-day official visit. Together with Pentagon Chief Chuck Hagel, he will hold talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera.

A State Department official said earlier that these bilateral consultations would be the next step in a further strengthening of the American-Japanese alliance and would enable the sides to deepen the already all-embracing bilateral relations. The previous similar meeting in the two-plus-two format was held in Washington in June 2011.

A reconsideration of the basic positions of the Japan-US military alliance is expected to be the main theme of the talks in the light of the rapidly changing situation in the Asia-Pacific Region, as well as new threats which arise before Japan's national security.

In particular, the sides will discuss the problem regarding the territorial dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku (Diaoyudao) islands. Washington repeatedly stated that it recognizes the Japanese side's sovereignty over those lands and that the Senkaku (Diaoyudao) problem falls under the provisions of the US-Japan Treaty on Mutual Cooperation and Security Guarantees, signed in 1960. According to the Treaty, any attack on the islands would be viewed by the US as a threat to its own national security.

The challenging situation concerning the American military presence in Japan's southernmost Okinawa Prefecture will be yet another subject of discussion at the upcoming talks. Discussion will refer, specifically, to the problem of MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft the training flights of which give rise to discontent among the Japanese. In view of that, the sides are to fix the making of such flights outside Okinawa where the bulk of American military facilities in Japan is located, including the Kadena Air Force base, the largest one outside the US.

After the visit, Kerry will proceed on his way to Bali for a ministerial meeting of the member-countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum. Then he will join a delegation that will be accompanying US President Barack Obama who will attend a regular summit of the APEC October 5-7.

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