Tokyo: Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba met with visiting US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and sought Washington’s support for Japan’s position on the Senkaku Islands, officials said.
“I look forward to having a fruitful discussion on the Japan-US bilateral relationship, including the security arrangements, and also the current increasingly severe situation in East Asia,” Genba told Burns at the beginning of the talks.
Burns said he is pleased to have an opportunity to reaffirm the importance the United States attaches to its partnership with Japan.
According to the Japan Times, tensions are running high between Japan and China after the government nationalized most of the islands after buying them from their private owners last month.
Japan maintains that no territorial dispute exists over the uninhabited islets, which China claims and calls Diaoyu.
Genba and Burns were expected to confirm close cooperation between the two countries over issues concerning North Korea, the report said.
Genba was also expected to ask Burns to ensure the US Marine Corps observes safety measures agreed on between the two countries over the operation of MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft deployed to Okinawa.
The controversial aircraft have been seen flying in helicopter mode despite an agreement they would do so only within the boundaries of US military facilities and areas "except as operationally necessary," it added.