Japan, US: Don't alter status quo

Japan, US: Don't alter status quo
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with US President Barack Obama in front of a sushi restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo, on Wednesday night.

With China's provocative actions around the Senkaku Islands in mind, a joint statement to be issued after a summit meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Barack Obama on Thursday will stipulate that the two countries oppose unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force, it was learned Wednesday.

According to sources, the joint statement is also expected to incorporate wording in which the United States commends Japan's establishment of the National Security Council and the enactment of a law on protecting specially designated state secrets.

China has engaged in repeated provocations around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture. In November, the country unilaterally declared an air defence identification zone over an area in the East China Sea that includes the islands. In view of China's moves, the joint statement will state that Japan and the United States stress the importance of maritime order based on respect for the principles of international law, including the freedom of navigation and the freedom of overflight.

Sources added the joint statement also declares Japan and the United States will oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo, fully supporting the utilization of diplomatic and legal means to settle maritime disputes.

The NSC and the law on protecting designated state secrets are part of Japan's measures to strengthen its security system. The new council was modeled after the US National Security Council. The National Security Secretariat, which was launched in January, closely cooperates with the United States and other countries to share information.

The law, which will come into force by the end of this year, is aimed at creating a framework to prevent the leakage of confidential information provided by the United States and other countries to strengthen cooperative relationships with those countries.

Obama, Abe to meet over sushi

Obama arrived in Japan, the first stop on his four-nation Asian tour, on Wednesday night.

After landing at Haneda Airport on Air Force One, Obama was set to have a private dinner with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a sushi restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo. Abe hoped the dinner, to be attended by a small number of people, would help them foster a personal relationship of trust.

On Thursday, the two leaders are to hold a summit meeting.

This is Obama's third visit to Japan since taking office. He is the first US president to visit the nation as a state guest since Bill Clinton 18 years ago.

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