While Japan's alliance with the United States benefits the stability of the Asia-Pacific region, close ties with China will also be needed if Japan wants to reap the benefits of its neighbor's booming economy, new Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba said Monday.

During a group interview at the foreign ministry, Genba, who was appointed by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda last Friday, said Japan will abide by a 2006 U.S.-Japan accord on relocating U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma farther north in Okinawa, while working to mollify local residents fiercely opposed to the plan.

In the meantime, Genba — who at 47 is the youngest foreign minister since the war — said Japan must create a "strategic partnership of mutual benefit" with China and consider ways to gain from the Asia-Pacific region's robust growth.