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US backs more active security role for Japan: Hagel

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (C) and Malaysian Minister of Defence and Minister of Transport (Acting), Hishammuddin Tun Hussein listen to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the 13th Shangri-La Dialogue on May 30, 2014 in SingaporeThe United States Saturday backed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plans to reshape the role of Japan’s little-used military, in the strongest comments of support yet from Tokyo’s major ally on the move. Abe told the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore Friday that Japan would become a more active player in maintaining regional security, as he sets about altering the Self Defence Forces’ rules of engagement. Pentagon chief Hagel told the forum the United States “supports” Abe’s effort to “reorient its Collective Self Defense posture toward actively helping build a peaceful and resilient regional order”. To complement Japan’s efforts, the United States and Japan “have begun revising our defense guidelines for the first time in nearly two decades,” Hagel told fellow defence chiefs, senior military officials, diplomats and security experts attending the annual conference.

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