Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said Friday he will hold his first face-to-face talks with U.S. counterpart Mark Esper next week in Japan.

Iwaya told a news conference that during the meeting next Wednesday he wants to discuss ways to strengthen defense cooperation with the new U.S. defense secretary.

The cost of host-nation support for U.S. forces stationed in Japan, a U.S.-led coalition to ensure safe passage through the Strait of Hormuz and a series of recent missile tests by North Korea are expected to be on the agenda.

The Pentagon said earlier this week that Esper, who took office on July 23, will visit Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Mongolia and South Korea from Friday.