Hagel said earlier this week that it is important to assure allies of U.S. commitment to those alliances as the United States faces ongoing budget issues and a government shutdown.
The secretary’s main purpose for visiting Tokyo is to take part, along with Secretary of State John F. Kerry and their Japanese counterparts, in “two-plus-two” consultations between U.S. and Japanese foreign and defense ministers.
This event is the first time such high-level meetings have occurred in Japan’s capital, and comes as the Japanese government is reportedly considering the future roles of Japan’s self-defense forces. Hagel and Kerry are also scheduled to meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.
In Seoul, South Korea, the secretary celebrated the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-South Korea alliance; participated in the 45th Security Consultative Meeting; presided over the U.S. Forces Korea change of command ceremony and visited with U.S. and South Korean troops.