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2014年4月10日 (木)

日米防衛相会談 「北」への共同対処を強化せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun 9:52 pm, April 09, 2014
Japan, U.S. defense chiefs focus on China, North Korea
日米防衛相会談 「北」への共同対処を強化せよ

The Japanese and U.S. defense ministers held a meeting recently in Tokyo, the fourth such talks in the

past year. We commend these top officials for their efforts not only to discuss in detail cooperation

between the Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. armed forces, but to translate the results of these

meetings into action.


In his talks with Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera on Sunday, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said

his country would deploy two additional U.S. Navy destroyers equipped with Aegis ballistic missile

defense capabilities in Japan by the end of 2017. The move will increase the number of such U.S.

warships deployed in Japan to seven.


We welcome efforts to bolster the U.S. Navy presence in this country, a move that will improve the

deterrent potential of the Japan-U.S. alliance.

In December 2012, North Korea launched a long-range ballistic missile that could reach the U.S.

mainland. In late March of this year, the reclusive state launched two intermediate-range ballistic

missiles. In preparation for further North Korean missile launches, Onodera has issued an order for the

SDF to take precautions aimed at intercepting and destroying such missiles.


The maintenance of a missile defense shield requires a sequence of quick responses, enacted over a

short span of time, and this series of events is only possible given efforts to identify early signs of a

missile launch. Measures to detect a missile launch must come first, followed by the pursuit an incoming

missile second, and then its interception.


Close cooperation between Japan and the United States in such an event demands the sharing of

pertinent information between the two countries, as well as an appropriate division of roles for dealing

with the situation. This cooperation is crucial in ensuring that the missile defense system serves its

intended purposes.

For years, the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Navy have maintained close cooperative

relations. Further strengthening their ties promises to improve the nations’ missile defense capabilities.

Stronger Japan welcomed

Speaking of recent actions by the Japanese government to reinterpret provisions of the Constitution in

relation to the right to collective self-defense, Hagel said the United States “encourages” and “supports”

such initiatives.


The Northeast Asian security environment has grown even more demanding as a result of arms

buildups by North Korea and China, eager to flex their military muscles. We believe that strengthening

the Japan-U.S. alliance through adaptations in the Japanese government’s interpretation of the

Constitution offers great promise for peace and security, not only in our nation but also across the whole

of Asia.


We hope the government and the ruling parties will work quickly to build a consensus around the issue,

thereby ensuring that the nation's highest law is interpreted in a manner that would allow Japan to

exercise its right to collective self-defense.

Another significant outcome of the talks was the opposition of both Onodera and Hagel to China’s

attempts to subvert the status quo by force, and the reiteration of the fact that the Senkaku Islands are

included in the sphere covered by the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.


As the U.S. defense secretary said in connection with the Ukraine situation, no country must be allowed

to change its national borders by threat of force in the 21st century. The international community,

including Japan and the United States, must unite in addressing the Ukraine crisis.


After his Tokyo trip, Hagel visited Beijing for talks with his Chinese counterpart, Chang Wanquan.

During that meeting, the U.S. defense secretary reportedly blasted China for its unilateral establishment

of an air defense identification zone in the East China Sea last year.


The United States has called on China to work to improve the transparency of its military capacities,

which are known to include cyberattack capabilities.

It is also important for Japan to remain in step with the United States and to use available channels to

encourage such transparency from China.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 9, 2014)


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