Austin Calls Okinawa Marine Realignment "Historic Step"

World Politics

Washington, Jan. 12 (Jiji Press)--U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday called a planned realignment of part of the U.S. Marine Corps stationed in the southernmost Japan prefecture of Okinawa "a historic step for the U.S.-Japan Alliance," according to a readout released by the U.S. Defense Department.

Austin made the comment on the plan to establish a new U.S. Marine littoral regiment in Okinawa by 2025 when he held talks with visiting Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada in a Washington suburb.

The Japanese Defense Ministry also released the results of the talks.

The reorganization plan, devised as part of efforts to bolster the United States' vigilance over a possible invasion of Taiwan by China, was included in a Japan-U.S. joint statement issued after a so-called two-plus-two meeting of their foreign and defense ministers held in Washington on Wednesday.

In the talks with Hamada, Austin also "underscored the unwavering U.S. commitment to the defense of Japan, including U.S. extended deterrence provided by the full range of conventional and nuclear capabilities," the Pentagon statement said.

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