Japan, US agree to expand joint anti-hypersonic weapons research at high-level meeting

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On September 14, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with his Japanese counterpart Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada in Washington. This is the first time Austin and Hamada have met in person since Hamada was named to the post in August.

The most significant announcement during the meeting was that the United States and Japan will undertake closer cooperation in the field of anti-hypersonic missile research. Other areas of joint research and cooperation highlighted include drones, aircraft, cybersecurity and supply chain resilience. According to an official statement from the Japanese Ministry of Defense:

“Ministers agreed that Japan and the United States would further accelerate their cooperation in the field of equipment and technology to ensure the technological advancement of the Alliance. In this perspective, the ministers agreed to continue the joint analysis on anti-hypersonic technology and, based on its progress, to start consideration of joint research on technologies and components. Ministers also agreed to further accelerate cooperation in unmanned aerial vehicles that have the potential to collaborate with manned aircraft such as FX, as well as efforts to strengthen supply chains, etc.

Japanese forces during a joint exercise with US Marines (USMC/Cpl. Aidan Hekker)

The meeting also included discussions of the current defense environment facing the United States and Japan and included typical references to the threat posed by China, North Korea, and Russia; defend Taiwan; and the common interests and values ​​that America and Japan share.

According to Secretary Austin:

“We also share a vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order. But China’s recent aggressive behavior and Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine are serious challenges to this vision. […] Let’s be clear, China’s coercive actions in the Taiwan Strait and the waters surrounding Japan are provocative, destabilizing and aggressive. Our response, together with Japan and our other allies and partners, has been responsible, steady and resolute. »

During the trip, Hamada laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery (Japanese MoD)

Austin also reiterated that the United States is prepared to use all conventional and nuclear force to defend Japan. Hamada also hinted that Japan will increase its offensive capabilities, saying “counterattack capability” is an important consideration in designing Japan’s new national security strategy.

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