US, Japan defence chiefs hold talks

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Washington, April 21 (IANS) US Defence Secretary James Mattis has met Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera and discussed the new US Defence Strategy, a media report said.

At the meeting on Friday at the Pentagon, the two leaders have said “the Japanese-US alliance is essential at a time when great power competition has returned”, Xinhua news agency reported.

Mattis and Onodera have affirmed the importance of close cooperation among the US, Japan, South Korea and other “like-minded” nations in dealing with North Korea and “in providing credible military backing to the maximum pressure campaign”.

Mattis has welcomed Japan’s plan to review its National Defence Program Guidelines by year end.

After the last review and mid-term defence program in late 2013, Japan loosened its restrictions on armaments exports for the first time in half a century.

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It had drawn wide protests and opposition from regional countries and the international community.

It also introduced new principles on defence equipment transfer in April 2014, allowing Japanese firms to export weapons if their deals pass government screening and engage in joint defence equipment development.



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