Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio
Kishida and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton agreed in
telephone talks Tuesday to hold their meeting in Washington on Jan.
They also agreed to arrange a U.S. visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at an early date.
Japan hopes to take these opportunities to reaffirm a commitment to strengthening its security alliance with the United States, Kishida told reporters after the talks with Clinton.
The two foreign affairs chiefs shared the view that it is necessary to strengthen the bilateral alliance for maintaining stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Kishida accepted Clinton's invitation to her country.
When they meet in Washington, Kishida and Clinton are expected to discuss Japan's possible participation in U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks and the thorny issue of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma air base in Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan.
Meanwhile, Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns agreed at their meeting in Washington on Monday to schedule Abe's U.S. visit for as early as February.
Abe initially considered plans to visit the United States in January, as his first official visit since he took office about two weeks ago. But the plans have seen scheduling difficulties on the U.S. part, ahead of the Jan. 21 inauguration of U.S. President Barack Obama for his second term.
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