The United States says next week's summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will bring a "historic" upgrade in defense ties between the long-time allies. On Wednesday in Washington, the leaders are expected to discuss plans to reform the U.S. military command in Japan to make it better able to function with Japanese forces in a crisis and to announce steps to allow more joint development, and potentially co-production, of military and defense equipment.

Why do the countries want to improve defense coordination?

Japan and the U.S. confront a range of threats that call for closer coordination. Topping the list is China's growing military and the threat it poses to Taiwan, just over 100 kilometers from Japanese territory. Another is North Korea's nuclear and missile arsenal. Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the fallout from Israel's war in Gaza are also shared concerns.