U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday stressed U.S. defense commitments to Japan, including the nuclear umbrella, in the face of growing missile threats from North Korea, while reiterating that Washington is against any action to weaken Japan's administrative control of the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

During a joint press conference following a meeting with Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera at the Pentagon, Hagel said, "The United States remains steadfast in our defense commitments to Japan, including extended deterrence and a further nuclear umbrella."

The two defense ministers agreed to continue close cooperation between the two countries as well as in a trilateral framework involving South Korea.