Secretary Panetta Reaffirms Importance of U.S.-Japan Partnership

Japanese Defense Minister Morimoto and Defense Secretary Panetta shake hands after their joint press conference.

Sept. 18 - Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited Japan Sept. 16-17. During his visit, the Secretary met with Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba and Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto, and he also held a joint press conference with the Defense Minister. Secretary Panetta also visited with U.S. troops at Yokota Air Base outside of Tokyo.

During his joint press conference with Defense Minister Morimoto, Secretary Panetta stated: "Minister Morimoto and I have established a very strong working relationship. Today we reaffirmed that the U.S.-Japan Alliance is the bedrock of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific, as it has been for more than 50 years."

Regarding the deployment of the MV-22 Osprey to Okinawa, the Secretary said: "The Osprey is important to the defense of Japan. It provides twice the speed, three times the payload, and four times the range compared to the platform they replace. The Osprey will enable us to more effectively perform humanitarian assistance, disaster relief operations and fulfill other roles critical to the U.S.-Japan Alliance. In a spirit of partnership and friendship, we will continue to work with the Japanese government to reconfirm the safety of this aircraft. We have made great progress on this issue and can expect a positive announcement soon."

See video clips of the Secretary's remarks here: