Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) officers aboard destroyer Yudachi work after docking at Yokosuka port at Sagami Bay, off Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, October 14, 2012 after a naval fleet review. Yuriko Nakao/Reuters
Japan's Self-Defense Forces personnel involved in UN peacekeeping operations in the Israeli-held Golan Heights listen to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a flag-returning ceremony at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo, Jan. 20, 2013. Itsuo Inouye/AP
Members of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force 1st Airborne Brigade takes part in an annual new year military exercise in Funabashi, east of Tokyo, January 13, 2013. Some 300 troops and 20 aircraft took part in the exercise. Toru Hanai/Reuters
Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force personnel on rubber boat search for missing people in Aso, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, July 14, 2012. Heavy rain triggered flash floods and mudslides in southern Japan. Kyodo News/AP
Members of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force go down from a UH-60JA helicopter during an annual live-fire exercise and demonstration at the Higashi Fuji training range in Gotemba at the foot of Mount Fuji, central Japan, Aug. 24, 2010. Koji Sasahara/AP
A woman who was trapped in her home is carried by a Japan Self Defense Force soldier in Kesennuma City in Miyagi Prefecture in northeastern Japan, March 12, 2011, after the massive earthquake and tsunami. Kyodo/Reuters
Two helicopters fly over a line of Japan Ground Self-Defense Force tanks flaring up a smoke screen during the annual live-firing exercise and demonstration at Higashi Fuji training range in Gotemba, southwest of Tokyo, Aug. 21, 2012. Japan's military is kept on a very short leash under a war-renouncing constitution written by US officials after World War II. Koji Sasahara/AP
Chinese sailors keep rank as Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force's 4,650-ton destroyer Sazanami arrives in Zhanjiang in southern China's Guangdong province, June 24, 2008. It was the first port call by one of Japan's warships to China since World War II. Toru Futagami/Kyodo News/AP
Japan's new Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera inspects an honor guard during a welcome ceremony at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo, Dec. 27, 2012. Koji Sasahara/AP
Japan Ground Self-Defense Force tanks rumble during a military parade, marking the 57th anniversary of the founding of the Japan Self-Defense Forces at Asaka Base, north of Tokyo, Oct. 28, 2007. Itsuo Inouye/AP
Female Japan Grand Self Defense Force (JGSDF) personnel bid farewell to their families and officials from a bus, transporting to a tarmac before their departure for East Timor at Chitose Airbase, northern Japan, April 10, 2002. Japan dispatched 230 personnel including 7 females to take part in UN Peace Keeping Operation ahead of the island's first ever presidential election, April 14, 2002. Shoma Fujiwaki/Asahi Shimbun/AP
Men dressed as Japanese imperial army soldiers march at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, August 15, 2012, on the 67th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II. Issei Kato/Reuters
Japan and the US have agreed to strengthen their alliance to address threats to regional security from North Korea’s missile program and China’s increasingly robust claims to disputed island territories, in the first broadening of the two powers' military alliance in nearly two decades.
The 10-page joint statement, which was finalized by the Japanese and US defense ministers in Tokyo on Thursday, included cooperation on a wide range of issues, from cyber-attacks and terrorism, to security in space and joint military exercises.