U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura to reaffirm what she called the strong partnership between the United States and Japan. The defense alliance with Japan and the alliance based on values with Japan," she said, "is one of the strongest pillars of security in the Asia-Pacific region, but also a strong pillar of American security." She and Mr. Koumura talked about the progress the U.S. and Japan have made in modernizing the alliance over these last few years and about continuing efforts to upgrade it.<!-- IMAGE -->
At a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Koumura, Secretary Rice referring to the alleged rape of a Japanese girl by a U.S. Marine. She expressed regret. . . .for the terrible incident. We want to see justice done, said Ms. Rice. She noted that "the U.S. is going to be very active with the Japanese government in trying to prevent incidents in the future.
Ms. Rice said she and her counterpart had an extensive discussion of the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program. Progress has been made, she said, but we do now need the declaration of the North Koreans that would be complete and would. . . .show us that there is a way forward to the third phase, which should take on the further denuclearization and indeed the dismantling of the North Korean nuclear program.
Ms. Rice pledged continuing U.S. support for Japan's efforts to find Japanese citizens abducted by agents of the North Korean regime. Ms. Rice also welcomed Japan's participation in Indian Ocean refueling operations in support of the global war on terrorism. U.S. Secretary of State Rice says we have had a very fruitful several years of strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance. There couldn't be a stronger commitment to the defense of Japan