Matsuno: Review of Japan-US defense cooperation guidelines not needed now

Japan's top government spokesperson says he doesn't see an immediate need to review the guidelines for Japan-US defense cooperation, following a major shift in the country's defense policies.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu was responding to a reporter's question at a news conference on Monday.

Japan revised three key defense documents, including the national security strategy, last month. The changes include a boost in defense spending and acquiring the ability to launch counterstrikes.

Japan explained the changes at the Japan-US summit and the bilateral "two plus two" talks of foreign and defense chiefs earlier this month. But a review of the guidelines was not mentioned in these meetings.

Matsuno said the guidelines provide a general framework and policy direction for Japan-US defense cooperation.

He said the two governments are expected to review the guidelines in a timely and appropriate manner when changes in situations relevant to the alliance occur and if it is deemed necessary in view of the circumstances.

Matsuno said the government will constantly study the need for a review, but he doesn't think the decision to acquire counterstrike capabilities alone will make it immediately necessary.