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US defense secretary says security treaty covers Japan’s Senkaku Islands

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III speaks with the UK Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace, from the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Jan. 23, 2021. (Lisa Ferdinando/DoD)
January 25, 2021

Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed in telephone talks Sunday morning that Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. security treaty covers the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture.

Article 5 of the treaty stipulates that the United States is obliged to defend Japan in the event of military emergencies.

These were the first talks by cabinet ministers of the two countries since the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden. Austin also expressed his intention during the call to visit Japan as soon as possible.

Afterward, Kishi told reporters: “The Japan-U.S. alliance remains stable even after the change of administration in the United States and amid efforts to deal with the novel coronavirus. We confirmed that our countries are ready to respond to any kind of incident.”

Kishi and Austin exchanged opinions about China’s forcible maritime advancement in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and missiles.

The two agreed that Japan and the United States will continue to cooperate on these issues.

Austin took up his current post when the U.S. Congress approved his appointment on Friday. He was formerly a four-star general in the U.S. Army, and served as the head of the U.S. Central Command, which controls U.S. forces in the Middle East.

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