from defensenews.com: The US and Japan agreed to a major update in their military relationship Monday, one that is expected to lead to a greater global presence for Japan's military while strengthening ties between the two nations on cyber, space and industrial programs, according to a senior US defense official.
The new US-Japan defense guidelines were agreed upon in New York City on Monday during the 2+2 talks between Japan and the US, where US Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Secretary of State John Kerry are meeting with Japanese Defense Minister Gen Nakatani and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.
The senior defense official, who spoke to reporters ahead of the signing, called the agreement a "very big event" that redefines how Japan operates as a military partner around the globe.
Japan will be able to defend regional allies that come under attack, a change that means Japanese missile defense systems could be used to intercept any weapons launched toward the United States — notable, given its close proximity to North Korea, which the official later described as a "growing threat" to regional stability.
In addition, expect to see increased Japanese presence around the globe on peacekeeping and humanitarian missions, and potentially also on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.
The guidelines will also lead to the establishment of a standing "alliance coordination mechanism," made up of Japanese and US officials from the defense and foreign relations sides. That body will provide a streamlined way of organizing and controlling US-Japan operations, something that has hindered the military relationship in the past.