The US and Japanese national security leaders have unveiled new guidelines for bilateral defence cooperation during the Security Consultative Committee meeting in New York City, US.
The revised guidelines create a solid basis for more effective and credible cooperation between the US and Japan under normal circumstances, and in case of an armed attack against Japan, while updating the roles and missions of the two countries and paving ways of cooperation and coordination.
US State secretary John Kerry said: "The guidelines will enhance Japan's security, deter threats and contribute to regional peace and stability.
"The United States and Japan stand together in calling for disputes in the region to be resolved peacefully.
"We reject any suggestion that freedom of navigation, overflight and other lawful uses of the sea and airspace are privileges granted by big states to small ones."
Claimed to be the first since September 1997, the revision of the defence guidelines follows the reinterpretation of the Japanese constitution to allow a greater international role, including greater military cooperation.
US Defence Secretary Ash Carter said the revisions were a necessary process as both countries now posses new capabilities and also new threats have emerged, including a whole new domain of warfare in cyberspace.
"These guidelines allow us to modernise the US-Japan alliance at the same time, by breaking new ground on existing areas of military cooperation and helping us open new areas of military cooperation both in the Asia-Pacific and around the globe."
In addition to prompting bilateral cooperation, the guidelines also provide a general framework and policy direction for cooperation in situations in areas surrounding Japan that will have an important influence on its peace and security.
Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said: "The new guidelines will enhance synergies of both policies."
Kishida also stated that the revised guidelines are the logical outgrowth of Japan's new policy of: "Proactive contribution to peace based on the principle of international cooperation and the rebalance policy on the US side."
The guidelines for US-Japan Defence Cooperation were first approved in November 1978.
Image: US Defence Secretary Ash Carter, US Secretary of State John Kerry shake hands with Japanese Defence Minister General Nakatani and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida after a joint press conference in New York City. Photo: courtesy of DoD screen shot.