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28 July 2017 00:47 (South Africa)

Gates says 'no alternatives' to US-Japan security accord

US defence secretary Robert Gates told Japan's new Democratic Party cabinet that the Obama administration was committed to the defence agreement reached by the previous American and Japanese governments – something some members of Japan's new ruling party would like to change. Gates said there were “no alternatives” to the complex agreement. Breaking a decades-long lock on Liberal Democratic Party rule in Japan, the country’s new government ran against its predecessor's economic and foreign policies and is reviewing many of them now that it is in office. Gates told Japanese foreign minister Katsuya Okada the US was committed to the existing security realignment. En route to Japan, Gates said, “We need to progress with the agreement that was negotiated. This has been a negotiation in the works for 15 years. All of the elements of it are interlocking." Gates doubts Congress would agree to significant changes, particularly if they cost more money. There are all those banks to help, after all.

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