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Japanese military wants to cooperate in unprecedented ways with the United States 130111-3.


| 2011
a
Defense News - Japan
 

Thursday, January 13, 2011, 20:26 PM

 
Japanese military wants to cooperate in unprecedented ways with the United States.
 
 
TOKYO - Worried about North Korean belligerence and an increasingly aggressive China, Japan's military wants to cooperate in unprecedented ways with the United States and is even considering putting its military in the line of fire in areas outside Japan, Japanese defense officials said January 13, 2010.
     
Worried about North Korean belligerence and an increasingly aggressive China, Japan's military wants to cooperate in unprecedented ways with the United States and is even considering putting its military in the line of fire in areas outside Japan, Japanese defense officials said January 13, 2010.
Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa on the left.
     

In an interview, Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa said Japan was studying ways to provide U.S. forces with logistical support in case of a conflict on the Korean Peninsula. Japan is also interested, he said, in determining how it can launch missions to evacuate civilians from the peninsula as part of efforts to support a U.S. mission.

In subsequent briefings Thursday, Japanese defense officials acknowledged that such maneuvers could put Japanese troops in harm's way. If attacked, they said, Japanese forces would fight back, which would necessitate more and deeper training with the United States and perhaps South Korea to ensure against casualties from friendly fire.

"The basic principle of Japan is to pursue peace," Kitazawa said, referring to Japan's constitution, which limits its military to the defense of Japan. "But we also need to have measures to avoid being left behind."

Kitazawa's statements, made during a visit by Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates to Japan, underscore a significant improvement in relations between the United States and Japan since the last time Gates visited this country - in October 2009. They also highlight a significant risk that Japan is taking, moving to bolster its military profile in a region with strong memories of World War II.

 
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