Visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday that updated bilateral defense cooperation guidelines will "transform the U.S.-Japan alliance" and enable the two countries' forces to "cooperate seamlessly" to respond to challenges around the world.

Last revised in 1997, the bilateral defense guidelines set out roles for the U.S. military and the Self-Defense Forces to engage in joint operations.

They focus on the defense of Japan and emergencies in the surrounding region, but an interim report on the new guidelines released in October called for more global military cooperation between the two nations.