Earlier this month, newly confirmed US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper made his first visit to Japan during a whirlwind tour of the Indo-Pacific region. While there, he described the Japan-US security alliance as "ironclad" and thanked Tokyo for its help in enforcing United Nations sanctions against North Korea. He also urged Japan to consider taking part in a coalition to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.
The security relationship between the United States and Japan remains extraordinarily close. Tokyo - often referred to as the "cornerstone" of Washington's alliance network in the region - is a crucial partner to help advance shared goals for a free and open Indo-Pacific.