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Mattis Reaffirms US Intention to Boost Japan's Ballistic Missile Defense

© AP Photo / Shizuo KambayashiJapan Self-Defense Force members set up a PAC-3 Patriot missile unit deployed ahead of North Korea's planned rocket launch at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo, Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Japan Self-Defense Force members set up a PAC-3 Patriot missile unit deployed ahead of North Korea's planned rocket launch at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo, Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - Sputnik International
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In light of the recent nuclear test by North Korea, Washington and Tokyo are discussing the intention to take measures to enhance Japan's security.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis in a phone conversation with Japanese Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera reaffirmed the intention of the United States to help Japan strengthen its ballistic missile defense.

"Secretary Mattis and Minister Onodera both condemned the test as a destabilizing provocation that threatens both regional and global security," Pentagon's release stated. "Mattis also underscored the United States would work with Japan to enhance its ballistic missile defense capabilities."

A missile is launched during a long and medium-range ballistic rocket launch drill in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on August 30, 2017. - Sputnik International
N. Korea Exploits Doubts on US Defense Commitment to Japan, Lack of ‘Red Line’
In the call, Mattis stated the United States is prepared to defend Japan as one of its closest allies and to continue ongoing work aimed at keeping peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mattis spoke with an official of another regional allied state, South Korean counterpart Song Young-moo in a phone conversation that any threat to US allies in the region will be met with a massive and overwhelming military response.

After the H-bomb test by Pyongyang on Sunday, US President Donald Trump said he would allow South Korea and Japan to buy an increased amount of "highly sophisticated " military equipment from the United States. Moreover, the Japanese Defense Ministry reportedly requested a record-high budget of 5.26 trillion yen ($48.2 billion) for the 2018 fiscal year for the purchase of new assets necessary to protect the country from the North's threats.

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