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Japan, Asean should work with US in ensuring maritime freedom: Japan minister

Published on Jan 16, 2014 3:39 PM

Japan and Asean should work more closely with the United States in maintaining navigational freedom in the Asia-Pacific region, a Japanese Cabinet minister has urged.

His comments came amid a war of words with China over territorial disputes and visits to a controversial war shrine.

Mr Ichita Yamamoto, the Japanese state minister for oceanic policy and territorial issues, said in a speech in Singapore on Thursday that the US played a "vital" role in maintaining peace and prosperity in the region, and that countries which benefited from it should work together to maintain freedom of the sea lanes.

"The alliance between Japan and the US is a common good in the region, from which both Japan and Asean benefit," he told the audience at the Fullerton Lecture organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

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