The United States and Japan have revitalized their commitment to the alliance as leaders Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Mike Gilday and Japan Chief of Staff Joint Staff Gen. Koji Yamazaki met at the Pentagon last week.

Both sides tackled maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region, deterrence to adversaries, and amplifying budget priorities and efforts to ensure the area remains “free and open.”

“The US-Japanese alliance is stronger than ever, and is the cornerstone of peace and stability in the region,” said Gilday. “Together, we will ensure security and prosperity, all while increasing multi-lateral cooperation, further information sharing and strategy synchronization, and deterring aggression.”

Maintaining peace and order in the Indo-Pacific waters, the US Navy has been working closely with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), regularly conducting bilateral operations with the revered aircraft carrier USS Ronal Reagan (CVN 76) and other USN-owned ships deployed in the region. The most recent joint exercise between the two navies includes Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT), Kakadu, and Pacific Partnership.

CNO and Japan Chief of Staff
CNO Gilday meets with Japan Chief of Staff Yamazaki at the Pentagon on Wednesday, October 19. (US INDOPACOM Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael)

Besides joint military activities, Gilday has also maintained bilateral engagements with JMSDF and its leadership, visiting the JMSDF helicopter destroyer JS Izumo (DDH-183) during the Rim of the Pacific 2022 and is slated to fly to Japan next month, among many others.

Last year, Washington and Tokyo reaffirmed their unbreakable alliance, “highlighting cooperation that promotes peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and around the world.” Moreover, ensuring to keep defending freedom and democracy, maintaining fair economic and social opportunity, upholding human rights, and supporting each other in times of crisis.

With the continued tensions brewing in the region, the US and Japan aimed to bolster their strength along with South Korea by “forging a forward-leaning, trilateral relationship reflective of their shared values and regional priorities.”

Robust Alliance and Military Modernization

As grim as the war in Ukraine has been for the last eight months, it has somehow awakened the defense and security of the rest of the world, including territories in the Indo-Pacific region. Conflict-ridden Taiwan against China and South Korea against North are just two of the areas treading on thin ice that caused alarms in its surrounding neighbors.