The new commander of US forces in Japan says he will seek a stronger bilateral alliance for the sake of stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
US Air Force Lieutenant General Ricky Rupp took part in a change of command ceremony at Yokota Air Base in Tokyo on Friday.
A moment of silence was observed at the start for the victims of Thursday's bombing attack near the international airport in the Afghan capital Kabul. Thirteen US service members were among those killed.
The head of the US Indo-Pacific Command, Admiral John Aquilino, presided over the ceremony. He called the bombings "a cowardly attack" that reminded the US military of the price of freedom.
Aquilino stressed that the United States will remain committed to defending freedom, adding that there is no better ally or partner than the US.
After receiving a flag for US forces in Japan, Rupp said the bilateral alliance serves as a credible deterrence in the region.
Rupp vowed to work with Japan to sustain the resolve of the two countries' strategic partnership, as well as the readiness of their combined forces to prepare for any crises.