Japanese Ministers meet with Mattis and Tillerson to discuss North Korea/Aegis Ashore

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On August 17, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and Foreign Minister Taro Kono met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to discuss the possible acquisition of an Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense system. Following a succession of North Korean missile tests, the Japanese Defense Ministry has accelerated its timeline to submit a budgetary request for the defense system to the end of August. Citing the need for further consultation with the United States, the ministry does not plan on including the fee it expects to pay for the system in the budget request, electing to wait to finalize the figure in the end of year 2018 financial budget plan.