Foreign Minister Hayashi received a courtesy call
by General Eric M. Smith, Assistant Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps
On September 11, 2023, commencing at 5 pm, for approximately 20 minutes, Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, received a courtesy call from General Eric M. Smith, Assistant Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, during his visit to Japan. The overview of the courtesy call is as follows:
- At the outset, Minister Hayashi welcomed the visit of General Smith, who formerly commanded III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) in Okinawa, and expressed his gratitude for choosing Japan as the first destination abroad after the nomination as the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. Minister Hayashi stated that the Japan-U.S. Alliance is the cornerstone of peace, security, and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region and said he was grateful for the daily efforts of U.S. Marine Corps to ensure the peace and stability of Japan and the region.
- In response, General Smith stated that in a rapidly changing security environment, the strong Japan-U.S. Alliance is vital to the peace and prosperity of the region. General Smith also mentioned that the Marine Corps is committed to the security of Japan and expressed his gratitude for the Japan’s efforts in the Japan-U.S. relationship.
- The two sides exchanged their views in light of the increasingly severe security environment in the region, including North Korea's intensified nuclear and missile activities, China's unilateral change to the status quo by force and such attempts, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and intensified military cooperation between China and Russia in the vicinity of Japan. Both sides reaffirmed that Japan and the U.S. will work in close cooperation for strengthening the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. Alliance, including the establishment of the 12th Marine Littoral Regiment (MLR) in Okinawa as the core unit to implement the new operational plan of the U.S. Marine Corps, about which we announced at the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (“2+2”) in January.
- They also reconfirmed the commitment to steadily implement the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, which includes the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma to Henoko and the relocation of U.S. Marines to Guam, from the perspective of mitigating the impact on local communities such as Okinawa, while advancing the above efforts. To ensure the stable presence of U.S. forces in Japan, it is important to gain the understanding and support of local residents regarding the presence of U.S. forces. They concurred that both sides will work closely together to ensure a smooth response to incidents and accidents, and the safe operation of the U.S. forces with consideration to the impacts on local communities.