Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout:

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III welcomed Japanese Minister of Defense Kihara Minoru to the Pentagon today during Minister Kihara’s first visit to Washington, D.C., as the Minister of Defense.  Secretary Austin reaffirmed the unwavering and ironclad U.S. commitment to the defense of Japan, and the two leaders confirmed both countries’ mutual commitment to strengthening the U.S.-Japan Alliance amid historic shared momentum toward peace, stability, and deterrence in a free and open Indo-Pacific. 

Secretary Austin reiterated his support for Japan’s decision to strengthen its defense, including its acquisition of counterstrike capabilities and increase in defense spending, following his December 2022 statement welcoming Japan’s 2022 National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, and Defense Buildup Program.

Both leaders reaffirmed the strategic alignment between the United States and Japan, as well as shared Alliance goals to optimize force posture, bolster integrated deterrence, modernize roles and missions, and further cooperate with like-minded partners to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.