Japan, U.S. hold "2-plus-2" talks Oct.3 on security guidelines

Japan and the United States said Thursday the two governments will hold so-called two-plus-two security talks Oct. 3 in Tokyo involving their foreign and defense ministers.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters in New York the ministers "will discuss future defense cooperation and the realignment of U.S. military forces in Japan based on the perception that the security environment in the Asia-Pacific region has been significantly changing."

Kishida, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will attend the meeting, the Japanese and U.S. governments said.

The four are expected to mainly discuss a possible review of bilateral security cooperation guidelines that define the roles played by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the U.S. military, a Japanese government source said earlier.

"The meeting represents the next step in further strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance, providing an opportunity to build on our already broad and comprehensive bilateral relationship," the U.S. State Department said.

The last round of such two-plus-two talks was held in June 2011.

On Oct. 4, Kerry will travel on to Indonesia to take part in meetings including ministerial talks of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the department said, describing APEC as "the premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region."

The U.S. Defense Department said Hagel will arrive in Japan on Oct. 2 after visiting South Korea.