Pentagon chief mulls assigning high-ranking U.S. commander in Japan

Pentagon chief mulls assigning high-ranking U.S. commander in Japan

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is looking closely at a proposal to assign a four-star general in charge of the U.S. Forces in Japan as defense ties between the two allied nations gain steam.

“So let me be clear. The United States can be secure only if Asia is secure and that’s why the United States has long maintained our presence in this region. And that’s why we continue to make investments necessary to make our commitments to our allies and partners. Of course, this starts at home. United States military remains the most capable fighting force on Earth,” Lloyd J. Austin III U.S. Secretary of Defense said.

This was how Austin justified the presence of U.S. forces in the Indo-Pacific region during the first plenary session concerning Washington’s strategic partnerships in the region in the recent Shangri-La Dialogue defense forum in Singapore.

The U.S. Defense Secretary also noted the strengthening defense ties with Japan and South Korea in which the three defense chiefs met at the sidelines of the summit and agreed to take their cooperation to new heights through joint military exercises and information-sharing, among others.

“With Japan and the Republic of Korea, we have created a multi-year trilateral exercise plan. This highlight is a newly named exercise that will allow our countries to train together in unprecedented ways,” he added.

Austin also revealed that the Pentagon is considering a proposal to appoint a four-star general in charge of U.S. Forces in Japan and support the East Asian nation’s decision to set up a joint headquarters.

As of September 2022, there are nearly 172,000 active-duty U.S. military troops across 178 countries.

Japan hosts the most number of American soldiers, with close to 54,000 of them stationed in the country, and headquartered in western Tokyo.

The defense chiefs of Japan, the United States, and South Korea also agreed to conduct their first trilateral exercise in the coming weeks.


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