Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto stressed Sept. 11 that the ongoing review of the Japan-U.S. bilateral defense guidelines must be carried out with broad support at home and from overseas.

Addressing an annual meeting with about 80 senior Self-Defense Forces officers at the Defense Agency headquarters in Tokyo, Hashimoto said the ongoing review is an extremely important issue that would affect national security.

Hashimoto said he would do his utmost to realign the U.S. military facilities in Japan and improve Status of Forces Agreement procedures as agreed by the Japan-U.S. Special Action Committee on Okinawa. He reiterated the need for the government to formulate by December an implementation plan to relocate Futenma Air Station. The station in central Okinawa is due to be moved to a sea-based facility off the coast of the U.S. Marine Corps base at Camp Schwab in Nago.

As for his decision in July to dispatch Air Self-Defense Force C-130H transport planes to evacuate Japanese nationals from Cambodia, Hashimoto said it was very significant for his government to concretely show its stance to protect overseas Japanese in such an emergency.

While emphasizing the need for Japan to establish dialogue and cooperative ties with its neighbors like South Korea, China and Russia in the field of security and defense, Hashimoto told the senior SDF officers that Japan will positively participate in the United Nations’ peacekeeping operations dealing with regional conflicts and refugee problems.

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