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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last month announced the formation of a defense intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance working group with Japan "to deepen cooperation in this area" between the two nations. The announcement came following his April 29 meeting with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera at the Pentagon. Both nations' militaries have identified ISR as a "critical priority," Hagel told reporters during a joint press conference with Onodera there that day. The two defense ministers also discussed ways to monitor and respond, if necessary, to North Korean provocations. "Today, we made progress on plans to deploy a second TPY-2 radar to Japan, which will help protect both of our nations from the threat of North Korean ballistic missiles," said Hagel. "The United States remains steadfast in our defense commitments to Japan, included extending deterrence and a further nuclear umbrella," he added. (Hagel-Onodera transcript) (See also US Beefing Up Missile Defenses and AFPS report by Jim Garamone.)