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Topic - Satoshi Morimoto
Japan's defense minister said Wednesday that he was deeply concerned by allegations that two American military servicemen had raped a woman on the island of Okinawa, and suggested that the U.S. take more measures to prevent such attacks.
Japanese military officials said they were closely watching seven Chinese warships spotted Tuesday in waters off a southern island.
The U.S. and Japan have come to an agreement to deploy 24 Marine V-22 Osprey aircraft to its base in Okinawa, Japan sometime in October, the Pentagon announced Wednesday from Beijing, where Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is visiting.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta on Monday warned that territorial disputes between China and its neighbors could easily spiral into war, as the start of the fishing season in the East China Sea increased the likelihood of confrontations between Beijing and Tokyo over a string of islands there.
China is likely to express concerns about the U.S. deployment in Japan of a radar system that can track Chinese anti-ship missiles that are the linchpin of plans to keep the U.S. Navy away from its territorial waters.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta is visiting Asia to "rebalance" the U.S. military's focus on the Pacific region, which includes shifting much of its naval fleet, expanding joint exercises with regional allies, and deploying forces to Australia and Southeast Asia.
"At this moment, we are keeping our guard up," Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto told reporters Monday. "We have not seen any objective indication that would cause us to make any change to our preparedness."
Mr. Morimoto said the case follows another sexual assault in August, and he indicated he was considering discussing the matter with Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta.