Japan to station officers in US military offices

Updated: 2012-08-03 17:13

By Zhao Shengnan (chinadaily.com.cn)

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Japan and the United States are planning to station Japanese Self-Defense Forces officers in key US military offices near Washington, Kyodo News Agency reported on Thursday.

The two countries are making arrangements to station the officers at the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, core organizations of the US Navy and US Air Force, in what would be the first such case, Kyodo quoted US government sources as saying.

The planned dispatch of the SDF personnel as liaison officers aims at gaining firsthand information about US military thinking, and boosting bilateral cooperation in promptly responding to situations including disasters, such as major earthquakes, contingencies in the East Asian region and attacks by pirates, the sources said.

The exact timing of the dispatch of the officers hasn't been decided yet, they said.

Japan and the US have been boosting their strategic alliance and upgrading joint military activities in Asia recently.

The US Defense Department last week said that Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto would visit the US on Friday, according to Jiji Press.

Morimoto, on his first visit to the US as defense minister, is scheduled to meet his counterpart Leon Panetta in Washington on Saturday.

The department also said the marines will verify the operational capability of Osprey aircraft during Morimoto's visit and that the two sides are arranging for Morimoto to board an Osprey.

On July 23, 12 Ospreys arrived at the US Marine Corps base in Iwakuni, Japan's Yamaguchi Prefecture, ahead of their planned deployment to Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture. The planes' arrival met mounting local opposition due to concerns about their safety, which have been heightened by two recent crashes abroad.