Japanese military leader’s visit to Offutt helps strengthen military alliance with U.S.

July 27, 2015


The stopover at Offutt Air Force Base occurred on July 12 and 13 as Kawano, Japan’s senior military leader, was en route to talks with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, his U.S. counterpart. It completed an exchange of visits that began with Haney’s tour of Japan and South Korea last month.

Haney and Kawano have known each other since 2012, when Haney headed the U.S. Pacific Fleet Command in Honolulu and Kawano took over as chief of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

“We’ve had a relationship for a while now,” Haney said in an interview with The World-Herald. “It was good to galvanize that relationship.”

Haney wouldn’t reveal the specifics of their discussions, but he said they covered items within StratCom’s purview such as cyberdefense, space operations defense and missile defense.

….Missile defense is a particularly prickly subject. In recent years the United States has placed land- and sea-based ballistic-missile defense systems in Japan, hoping to protect the country if North Korea were to launch missiles against it. But China feels threatened.

“U.S.-Japan cooperation with a missile-defense system is somewhat dastardly, in the view of China,” Roy said.

And the Haney-Kawano meetings came as the Diet, Japan’s parliament, is considering bills that would allow Japan to fight if its allies are attacked. The legislation has drawn considerable opposition within Japan, a country deeply suspicious of its own military since World War II.

“It’s fair to say that (the legislation) will dramatically change the U.S.-Japan alliance,” Roy said. “It’ll be more of an alliance than it is now.”….

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