Japan’s defense minister to meet U.S. counterpart Gates on May 1

April 12, 2009 8:03 am 

TOKYO, April 11 — Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada plans to visit the United States to meet with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on May 1, with North Korea's recent rocket launch and realignment of U.S. forces in Japan expected to be on the agenda in their talks, according to sources close to Japan-U.S. relations.

During their talks, likely to be held at the Pentagon, Hamada and Gates are expected to discuss the collaboration of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces with U.S. troops in the wake of North Korea's rocket launch on Sunday, the sources said.

Hamada may also seek an explanation on a plan announced by Gates on Monday to end the production of F-22 fighter jets, given that Japan had hoped to acquire the stealth planes as the next-generation main striker model for its Air Self-Defense Force, they said.

The two are also likely to take up issues related to the realignment of the U.S. military in Japan, as well as deep cuts in other weapons programs proposed by Gates as part of a major review of the Pentagon's spending priorities, the sources said. (PNA/Kyodo)

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