Joint Press Conference after 'Two-plus-Two' Meeting

Remarks With Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso, and Japanese Defense Minister of State for Defense Fukushiro Nukaga - Japan Security Consultative Committee

Loy Henderson Conference Room
Washington, DC
May 1, 2006

SECRETARY RICE: Good morning. It's a great pleasure to welcome Foreign Minister Aso, Minister of State Nukaga and of course my colleague Secretary Rumsfeld to this meeting of the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee. This work, which we call the 2+2, has been going on now for some time. In 2004, President Bush and Prime Minister Koizumi pledged to strengthen our alliance, to modernize it for the 21st century, while reducing the burden placed on base hosting communities, and we have today made some further progress in that direction.

I would call to your attention the fact that we have issued a joint statement on which we all agree and that there is a realignment and implementation report which is responsive to the effort to create a stronger, sustainable alliance that demonstrates our global partnership and that is one that pushes us forward into the 21st century.

We have no better friend than Japan. We share, most of all, values. But increasingly, we share global responsibilities as well. The U.S.-Japan relationship, which for years has been a pillar of stability in the Asia Pacific region, a pillar of stability based on common values and democracy, is now, of course, working in Afghanistan, working especially in Iraq, and I want very much to thank Japan and the Japanese people for the tremendous contribution that Japan's Self-Defense Forces are making to the humanitarian mission in Iraq as well as the vital financial and technical assistance that is being provided to the Iraqi Government.

We, of course, work together in the six-party talks on North Korea, and Japan has been stalwart on issues of proliferation concerning countries like Iran.

All in all, this is a very strong relationship. It is a relationship that has evolved from its early days and is now truly a pillar not just of regional but of global stability. And I know that Secretary Rumsfeld joins me in congratulating those who have worked on these important efforts, the realignment implementation report that is before us, but also we talked today about the much work that we have ahead of us and we look forward to continued work in the 2+2.

May I now turn to Minister Aso for a few remarks.

MINISTER ASO: Thank you very much, Secretary Rice. At the 2+2 meeting today we were able to have a very meaningful exchange of views concerning various issues both regional and global which are of interest both for Japan and the United States . As far as the Japan-U.S. alliance is concerned, the alliance is the indispensable foundation for the security and peace, peace and stability of Japan and of the Asian Pacific region and it will become even more vital in us dealing with various global challenges (inaudible) I think Japan-U.S. alliance in the global context now.

Now, as far as the global challenges or issues concerned, fundamentally they have to be addressed on the basis of shared values between Japan and United States , that of basic human rights, democracy, freedom and the rule of law. Particularly important is that Iraq and Afghanistan prosper as a solid democracy and Japan will make all of the various effort needed.

With regard to the fight against terrorism, it is a long-range fight, I think, and my country will therefore be working in many ways very closely in good coordination with the United States in addressing this issue.

Now, as far as the Asian Pacific region is concerned, if you look at the region, there continues to be uncertainty and (inaudible) and therefore this necessitates a very close cooperation between Japan and the United States.

On North Korea, it's indispensable that the abduction problem be resolved after a visit made by the family members of the abductees. I'd like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the way they were received by President Bush and the departments concerned and the Congress.

Now, the nuclear missile issues of North Korea , these are real security issues, therefore we in the days ahead will be working with the United States to ensure the implementation of the joint statement of the six-party talks. And furthermore there's a need for further transparency concerning the military modernization initiatives occurring in the Asian Pacific region.

And since last year we're vigorously working concerning the realignment of the U.S. forces as well as the rules and missions and capabilities of the U.S. military and so implementation of these agreements will be important in terms of maintaining the deterrence as well as to reduce a lot of burden - the burden shared by those communities - and also it is important for the strengthening of Japan-U.S. security arrangement. The 2+2 this time is a consummate goal of the activities that we have conducted so far, but also represent a start for the work to be done going forward. In order to ensure effective implementation of the agreement reached between the ministers, there's a need for a cooperation between Japan and the United States, both sides.

In terms of the relocation, Futenma replacement or relocation, and the relocation of Marine Corps to Guam, it is, I believe, a major achievement in that now we have a concrete roadmap for easing all the burden on Okinawa . But to realize this, I think it's necessary that the entire population of Japan , the people of Japan, must share in these burdens and we will work to gain the understanding on this point of the Japanese people.

MINISTER NUKAGA: Thank you. We just approved this final realignment implementation report and since I became the Minister of State in charge of Defense Agency, today marks the six-month time, and at this important juncture we can start a new start in our important U.S.-Japan relationship. This is a very moving moment for me in that sense, after the half-year passage.

And as mentioned concerning the terrorism issue, I'd like to pay respect to the United States for U.S. efforts to fight against terrorism from the global point of view. We also tackle the terrorism as our own issues and we send the Maritime Self-Defense Forces to the Indian Ocean and we extended their stay last month and we will continue to fight against terrorism.

And concerning Iraq , on the 28th of April, we decided to deploy the 10th Ground SDF Contingent to Iraq to assist the building of the democratic country in Iraq , together with the members of multinational forces together with the United States . Iraq is a nation of great relevance and importance to the national interest of Japan as well, so it is important that we take steady measures here. And about the Air Self-Defense Forces, the Air Self-Defense Forces will fulfill its missions to the fullest.

Now concerning China , along with economic growth we see the increase in their defense budget and it is very important work on them so that they will increase the transparency of military capabilities of China to ensure the sense of security among the neighbors. And I made this point during the meeting.

And on Sunday last week, together with Secretary Rumsfeld concerning the U.S. forces realignment, we had the very intensive discussion for three hours or more and we agreed about the cost sharing of the relocation of U.S. Marines from Okinawa to Guam . And we will provide total of $6.09 billion, including $2.8 billion in direct cash contribution as a ceiling, including investment and the loans. And we will do our best in ensuring the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam which has been the long-cherished dream of the Okinawans. And with this, we can build up the relationship of further trust in our alliance.

As you know, the U.S.-Japan alliance relationship is vital not only for the security of Japan , but for the security and stability of Asia Pacific region and for the global environment. So this agreement marks the fact that our alliance relationship has entered into the new status with this agreement today. And during the 2+2 meeting, I talked about the days back in 1996 when we tried to redefine the U.S.-Japan alliance relationship after the end of the Cold War and to --formulated the guidelines for the U.S.-Japan defense cooperation.

Based on that, we step up our alliance relationship and introduce the legislation to cover the contingencies and other measures to share the objectives and goals. So these U.S. forces realignment, we agreed this time would mark the new start of our relationship of alliance, to cooperate with terrorism and ballistic missiles and also the various measures to cope with threats beyond our imagination in the past. We will be jointly coping with those contingencies and threats, therefore we have to - now we have to start thinking about the new concept and agenda of the guidelines for defense cooperation between U.S. and Japan .

I mentioned that we should start talking about the new framework for such guidelines. The U.S.-Japan alliance during the first half of the 21st century, it is essential and indispensable and the move to Futenma alternative facilities will take about ten years, and for the move - relocation of Marines to Guam also will take another ten years. So we have to have the long-term view in the order of ten years or more and to strengthen alliance relationship between the United States and Japan .

In any case, based on this final agreement, the realignment implementation, I do believe that U.S.-Japan alliance relationship will be strengthened based on the strong trust and will continue to the stability and security of country and surrounding situation and also the global situation at large, and we'll continue to do our best. Thank you.


SECRETARY RUMSFELD: Thank you, Condi, and Minister Aso and Minister Nukaga. Three years ago, we launched a full review of our alliance with the objective of determining what steps we needed to take to transform the alliance to meet the challenges that we saw in the future. At that time, it was clear to both of our governments that the time had come for a fundamental reassessment of the alliance. We began by assessing our respective strategic interests, the challenges we faced, the approaches to meeting those challenges. That initial phase led to an announcement in February of 2005 of a set of common strategic objectives that U.S. and Japan share.

The report we're releasing today summarizes the implementation plans that will guide our realignment and thereby ensure the enduring capabilities of the alliance, built on a stable, sustainable U.S.-forward presence in the Pacific. We've reached agreement on detailed plans to relocate two U.S. air bases from urbanized to rural areas. Together we've developed a realignment plan that will make Guam a key part of this alliance and the Pacific security architecture.

We've incorporated realignments in the Japan Self-Defense Forces that complement U.S. realignments and will result in greater operational coordination than had existed previously. But we do not intend to let our alliance rest on those achievements alone. We have to carry out this important work to achieve the roles and missions and capabilities objectives that we established last October. This important phase has already begun but we will now be able to turn our full attention and energy to realize tangible improvements in the role allocation and mission sharing based on a better integrated and more balanced capabilities fielded by both of our nations.

I want to join Condi in thanking the teams from both Japan and the United States who worked very diligently to achieve this important step in our relationship. This alliance is vital, but keeping an alliance vital requires constant investment of time and effort as well as the allocation of resources sufficient to deliver on the promises that we've made together to our respective citizens. The reality of the world today is that to be credible, to deliver on real deterrents, to assure peace we're committed to maintain we need to match our words with our deeds.

Today's meetings marks an important milestone, but we do have a good deal of work yet ahead of us before our desired destination in this security partnership. For our part, we will certainly continue to move our alliance forward on this journey.

Thank you.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much.