Defense chiefs of U.S., Japan pledge stronger allianceUpdated: 2014-07-12 18:15:14 KST
Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori [ ] Onodera.
received a warm welcome in Washington on Friday from U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
The two defense chiefs were meeting at the Pentagon to reinforce their alliance.
At a press conference after their talks, Hagel praised Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's decision to revise the country's constitution so Japan's military can come to the aid of an ally under attack, and do more than just self-defense.
"This bold and historic landmark decision, will enable Japan to significantly increase its contribution to regional and global security and expand its role on the world stage. Our government strongly supports the decision made by Prime Minister Abe and his cabinet."
However, needing more time to prepare, bills related to the legislation are now set to be processed next year, instead of this fall as originally planned, according to Japan's Chief Cabinet secretary.
In the meantime, Hagel and Onodera said they are working on revising the U.S.-Japan defense relationship made back in 1997.
The Abe administration's decision to revise Japan's decades-old pacifist constitution is not only opposed by many within Japan, it's also been slammed by Korea and China who say the power could be misused.
Both countries suffered under Japanese imperial rule during World War Two, and are currently locked in territorial disputes with Tokyo.
Speaking separately at a seminar in Washington, Onodera expressed interest in meeting with his South Korean counterpart at "any time", but mainly to discuss the threats posed by North Korea.
Connie Lee, Arirang News.
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