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Bolton, Japan defense minister hold talks on Iran tensions, bilateral alliance

In this May 22, 2019 photo, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton arrives to speak at the commencement for the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

TOKYO -- U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton met with Japan's Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya here to discuss the situation surrounding Iran and other topics on July 22.

But in regard to Washington's plan for an international military coalition to protect the freedom and safety of commercial shipping through the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait off the coast of Yemen in the Middle East, Iwaya told reporters after the meeting, "I didn't get a briefing on its specific content."

With respect to the U.S. government's explanation on the military coalition on July 19, Iwaya said, "I received an explanation that there are many ways to work together. Upon careful examination of the content of the proposal, we would like to consider (whether to join the coalition)."

Meanwhile, Bolton had stated at the beginning of the talks at the Ministry of Defense that Japan and the U.S. are at an extremely critical phase to strengthen the bilateral alliance, indicating that the U.S. could urge Japan to join its military coalition.

Bolton also held talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Shotaro Yachi, secretary general of National Security Secretariat. He apparently discussed with Kono about Japan's souring relations with South Korea.

Though U.S. President Donald Trump mentioned about offering help to ease the tension between the two countries, a source close to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, "Bolton did nothing more than listen to Japan's position, and there weren't any talks on mediation."

(Japanese original by Naritake Machida, City News Department, and Issei Suzuki, Foreign News Department)

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