09:25 GMT +324 July 2019
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    Gen Nakatani and Ash Carter

    US, Japan Cement Defense Ties Promoting Space and Cybersecurity

    © REUTERS / Thomas Peter
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    US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and his Japanese counterpart Gen Nakatani agreed to establish a task force aimed at promoting cooperation with regard to strengthening security in space and cyberspace.

    The defense chiefs made the announcement during a press conference in Tokyo.

    Earlier this week, Carter told an audience at Arizona State University that the two countries plan to take bilateral cooperation to a new level, expanding it into new areas, including space and cybersecurity.

    Carter is on a three-day visit to Japan to complete a new set of defense guidelines forming the basis of US-Japan defense cooperation. Kyodo news agency quoted the Pentagon chief as saying that the new guidelines would transform the alliance so that the US armed forces and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces could "cooperate seamlessly" in responding to regional and global challenges.

    The guidelines will be fully updated by the end of April, when high-ranking Japanese officials, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, come to Washington.

    The move is seen by many as an attempt to counter China's growing influence in the region. Tokyo and Beijing have been locked in a territorial dispute over the islands in the East China Sea, controlled by Japan. They are known in Japan as the Senkakus and China calls the islands Diaoyu.

    During the joint press conference Ashton Carter warned against the militarization of territorial disputes in the Asia-Pacific region.

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    Tags:
    cybersecurity, defense, cooperation, Gen Nakatani, Ashton Carter, Asia-Pacific, Japan, United States
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