Japan, US officials discuss 'modernized alliance'

Japan and the US have agreed to look at ways to make their defense cooperation more organized and effective.

Japan's Foreign and Defense ministers were in Washington on Wednesday. They spoke with their American counterparts, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin about their future plans.

Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa said, "The joint announcement will present a vision of a modernized alliance that is poised to win. We need to take action with speed to implement this, strengthening the Japan-US alliance."

Japanese officials discussed their country's goal of significantly increasing defense spending, and acquiring counter-strike capabilities.

They say having a "strong deterrence" is indispensable, because of the region's "harsh security environment."

The US Secretary of State praised Japan's actions, and said the two countries will continue to work together.

Blinken said, "These new strategies make clear Japan's commitment to invest in enhancing its capabilities to take on new roles and foster even closer defense cooperation with the United States and our mutual partners."

The ministers agreed to partially reorganize a plan for the US troops stationed in Japan.

They also discussed what they called China's moves to change the international order. Japan and the US say they both strongly oppose Beijing's attempts to unilaterally influence the status quo in the East China Sea.