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US, Japan widen defense ties in historic sea change

(L-R) Japanese Defense Minister Nakatani, Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter pose for a picture after a meeting on April 27, 2015 in New YorkThe United States and Japan unveiled new rules for defense cooperation in a historic move that will give Japanese forces a wider global role amid concerns over China’s rising sway. Under the revised guidelines, Japan could come to the aid of US forces threatened by a third country or, for example, deploy minesweeper ships to a mission in the Middle East. US Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter revealed the new rules alongside Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Defense Minister Gen Nakatani after talks at a New York hotel. Although officials said the new doctrine is not aimed at China, there has been increasing concern over moves by Beijing to try to scoop up disputed areas of the South China and East China Seas.

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