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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently visited Japan on the first stop of
her Asia trip. Both Secretary Clinton and Japan's Foreign Minister Hirofumi
Nakasone [hee-roh-FOO-mee nah-kah-SOH-nay] emphasized the importance of
maintaining the strength of the U.S.-Japan security alliance.
To that end, Secretary Clinton signed the Guam International Agreement, which
will move eight-thousand American troops from Okinawa to Guam. "This
agreement," said Secretary of State Clinton, "reflects the commitment
we have to modernize our military posture in the Pacific. It reinforces the
core of our alliance - the mission to defend Japan against attack and to deter
any attack by all necessary means."
There are currently about thirteen thousand Marines stationed on Okinawa, and
twenty-three thousand U.S. troops there overall. They are part of about
fifty-thousand U.S. troops deployed in Japan under a post-World War Two mutual
The Six Party Talks aimed at getting North Korea to give up its nuclear programs
were also a subject of discussion between Secretary Clinton and Foreign
Minister Nakasone, who both "agreed to further step up Japan-U.S.
coordination and Japan, U.S., and South Korea coordination towards the
realization of complete denuclearization of the peninsula." The Secretary
also vowed to continue to support Japan in its efforts with North Korea to
resolve Japan's concerns about the status of Japanese citizens abducted by
North Korea during the 1970s and '80s.
Secretary Clinton invited Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso [TAH-roh AH-soh] to
Washington. He will be the first foreign leader to meet with President Barack
Obama at the White House. The February 24th summit demonstrates the commitment
of the world's two largest economies to deal with the global financial crisis.
Japan has been a valuable security partner of the United States for almost
fifty years. The United States looks forward to continuing to work with Japan
to meet the military, diplomatic, and economic challenges that lie ahead.