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Armitage calls Japan a close U.S. ally

March 20, 2006 at 6:42 AM

WASHINGTON, March 20 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has said Japan is an important ally of the United States on a par with Britain.

"Of course, I didn't mean nuclear weapons, but I meant everything else. And that is that we share with Japan like we share with the U.K. in everything -- political information, intelligence, that we enhance our security cooperation in every way," Armitage said in a recent interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun, the newspaper reported Monday.

His insight will be included in his "Armitage Report" next month. The original version of this policy recommendation was published in October 2000 and called for further strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance.

He mentioned Japan's dispatch of naval supply vessels to the Indian Ocean to assist the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and its dispatch of Ground Self-Defense Forces to Iraq for reconstruction projects.

"Look at what Japan has done, after 9/11. ... (Japan) 'showed the flag' and then the 'boots on the ground,'" Armitage said.

"The U.S. and Japan should have a good, close, political, security and economic relationship, and that'll be what the report is about," he added.

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