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Clockwise from bottom left: U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, and Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera.

US to reaffirm nuclear umbrella over Japan

Top officials aim to send message to emboldened North Korea at upcoming meeting

| North Korea

TOKYO -- The top diplomats and defense officials of Japan and the U.S. will meet Thursday to discuss North Korea as Washington seeks to demonstrate its determination to defend its ally by any means necessary, including nuclear weapons if need be.

This will mark the first meeting of the Security Consultative Committee -- also known as the "two plus two" format -- since April 2015 after a planned meeting last month was postponed. The talks in Washington will be attended by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis representing the U.S.

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