• Kyodo

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The military chiefs of the United States and Japan agreed Friday to strengthen defense ties through increased joint exercises in the Asia-Pacific region, Japanese officials said.

Gen. Shoji Takegochi, chairman of the Joint Staff Council of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, held talks with Gen. Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the Pentagon in Washington.

Takegochi and Shelton agreed the two countries will promote ongoing joint research on the proposed theater missile defense system, the officials said.

They also agreed to speed up work on drafting a framework for mutual cooperation that would be necessary in the event of an emergency on the Korean Peninsula, they said.

Shelton also explained Washington’s plan to review its long-standing defense strategy, the officials said.

The Japanese SDF chief expressed understanding of the plan and pointed to the need for the U.S. military and Japan’s SDF to deepen cooperation, they said.

The U.S. said recently it will abandon the traditional “two major war” concept, explaining it is no longer possible to specify the military threats the U.S. faces in a post-Cold War era.

The U.S. military has so far used the possibility of having to fight wars simultaneously in two places when calculating the minimum number of troops, aircraft, ships and equipment it needs available.

The new strategy is also likely to shift the focus of the U.S. military from Europe to Asia.

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