10/04/2013, 00.00
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Washington, Tokyo to bolster their military alliance against China

The US "ready to support" Shinzo Abe in the constitutional review, which will allow Japanese troops to move even beyond its borders. An appeal to other Asian nations to "contain the expansion" of Beijing.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The U.S. and Japan will drastically bolster their military alliance to counter China's increased spending on arms development and North Korea's nuclear and missile program. The agreement came in meetings on Thursday between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel with their Japanese counterparts Fumio Kishida and Itsunori Onodera.

The U.S. has decided to support Tokyo's attempt to engage the country's strictly defensive military in what is called "collective self-defense," allowing it to send troops to an ally which is in some way under threat. Japan's pacifist constitution, drawn up after its defeat in World War II, rules out collective self-defense as an excuse for military adventures overseas, but the rightwing Shinzo Abe administration is seeking to revise it.

The two countries also agreed to revise by next year bilateral defense cooperation guidelines that clearly define the roles of American and Japanese troops. The guidelines, which were first drafted in 1978 for fear of an invasion by Soviet forces, were revised in 1997 to prepare for an emergency on the Korean Peninsula. In a joint statement, the U.S. and Japan urged China to "adhere to international norms of behavior" and "improve openness and transparency in its military modernization." They also called for greater sharing of intelligence information with other Asian allies. Japan and Korea failed to sign a military-information sharing pact at the last minute in 2012.



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