Japan, US officials aim to develop 'modernized alliance'

Japan and the United States say they are reorganizing their defense cooperation to be more effective. This comes as Tokyo is strengthening its capability to respond to attacks, and as both countries say they want to counter China's attempts to change the status quo.

Japan's foreign and defense ministers were in Washington on Wednesday. They spoke with their American counterparts about their plans to strengthen the Japan-US alliance.

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."

Japanese officials discussed their country's goal of significantly increasing defense spending, and acquiring counterstrike 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.

US Secretary of State Antony 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 took time to voice strong opposition to what they say are Beijing's attempts at unilaterally influencing the status quo in the East China Sea.

They have announced plans to reorganize the deployment of US troops in Okinawa in response.