Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee; Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the committee's ranking member; and Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., a member of the committee, today issued the following comment regarding the release of the joint statement by the United States and Japan regarding U.S. force posture in the Asia-Pacific region. On Tuesday, Senators Levin and Webb, along with Senator John McCain (R-AZ), raised concerns about the draft joint statement in a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
"We appreciate the willingness of the Departments of State and Defense to accommodate some of our concerns by adjusting the language in certain portions of the U.S.-Japan Joint Statement of the Security Consultative Committee. We still have many questions about the specific details of this statement and its implications for our force posture in the Asia-Pacific region, and we will continue to work with the Administration and the Government of Japan to achieve the objectives we all share: a mutually beneficial, militarily effective, and fiscally sustainable agreement regarding the realignment of U.S. forces on Okinawa and Guam. We will also continue to await the findings and recommendations of the independent assessment on U.S. force posture in the Asia-Pacific region, as required by the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.
"The upcoming visit of Japanese Prime Minister Noda to the United States is an important opportunity to make additional progress toward our shared strategic goals for the alliance. We welcome Prime Minister Noda to Washington and view his visit as an opportunity to reaffirm and deepen the U.S.-Japan Alliance as the cornerstone of our mutual security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region."