The United States and Japan struck a bargain to enhance bilateral military cooperation in Asia, amid heightened tensions in the South China Sea region and North Korea’s provocative ballistic missile program.
The agreement was voiced as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with the head of the US Pacific Command, Adm. Harry Harris, in Tokyo on Tuesday, the Japan Times reported.
During the meeting, Abe praised last year’s revision of Tokyo’s cooperation agreement with Washington and changes in Japanese military doctrine, stressing that those “encouraging” moves facilitated a deterrence against North Korea’s nuclear missile experiments.
The changes in the Japanese military doctrine were made last year, and allow for the country’s Self-Defense Forces to participate in foreign military operations, upon the request of an ally. The step caused a backlash among the Japanese public, with many protesting what they claim is a shift toward militarization.