Secretary Clinton met with Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Seiji Maehara today in Washington. In a statement on the meeting, Secretary Clinton said:
"...The U.S.-Japan alliance continues to underwrite peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region -- and it continues to drive regional economic growth and dynamism. Since the end of the Second World War, our relationship has evolved to address the most pressing regional and global challenges.
"As we begin the second half-century of our alliance, we also are beginning a new era in our strategic cooperation. Over the course of this year, and in preparation for the summit between President Obama and Prime Minister Kan, we endeavor to strengthen all of the dimensions of our alliance to better seize the opportunities and confront the challenges of the 21st century.
"This begins with deepening our bilateral security alliance, but it by no means ends there. The United States and Japan will also enhance cooperation on the full range of global and strategic issues, from nuclear proliferation to maritime security, and from global economic recovery and growth to energy security and climate change.
"These efforts are not only necessary but mutually reinforcing and will ensure the alliance remains what it has been for 50 years: the cornerstone of our strategic engagement in Asia."
Secretary Clinton noted her discussions with Foreign Minister Maehara on North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, and then continued, "...We are taking steps to deepen our bilateral engagement on economic policy, to set a path toward more economic growth and job creation in the years ahead. Our joint efforts in multilateral fora such as the G-20 are also critical. And, as you know, the United States will be hosting APEC in 2011, so we are working closely with Japan to build off their chairmanship and efforts in 2010 to achieve further substantive progress on shaping and accelerating regional economic integration.
"Beyond economic and strategic issues, we also discussed a bilateral matter that is very important to the United States -- the issue of international child abduction. Next week, senior officials from the U.S. government will meet with American parents whose children were wrongfully, and in some cases illegally, taken to Japan. I encouraged Minister Maehara and the government of Japan to work toward ratification of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
"Finally, we discussed an issue that is particularly important to people in both countries and throughout the region: The Foreign Minister and I agreed that our defense posture must continue to evolve in order to deal with the emerging strategic environment. We reiterated our firm intention to continue to implement existing agreements on base realignment issues, including the replacement facility for Futenma.
"The goal of our two governments remains unchanged: Both countries want arrangements that are operationally viable and politically sustainable. That means the United States will reduce the impact of our bases on their host communities while, at the same time, maintaining the capabilities that we need to meet our commitment to defend the Japanese people and the security of the region. We look forward to working with the government of Japan to move this important process forward.
"And I might also add: this is an example of how effective cooperation in our bilateral relationship reinforces our cooperation on regional and global issues. By enabling our regional security architecture to evolve, we are better able to deal with emerging strategic challenges.
"Foreign Minister Maehara, I look forward to continuing to work with you on both these tracks, so we can maintain stability, security, and prosperity for the region and continue to deepen our ties and enhance the lives of the people of our countries."
The complete statement is available here.