Japan and the United States on Monday signed a new pact allowing local officials to enter U.S. military bases in Japan to conduct environmental surveys.

Under the accord, the U.S. can also give permission for Japan to conduct soil and other relevant surveys about seven months prior to the expected return to Japanese control of land used for U.S. bases.

The agreement was signed between Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter when they met Monday during Kishida's five-day trip to the U.S. that started in Washington.