Lt. Gen. Jerry Martinez, commander of US Forces Japan, greets Defense Secretary Ash Carter upon his arrival at Yokota Air Base near Tokyo on Dec. 5, 2016.

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Fears US-Japan ties may fray under Trump presidency

US has 50,000 troops stationed in Japan

Yokota Air Base, Japan CNN  — 

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter arrived in Japan Monday, a visit that comes amid fears that President-elect Donald Trump might pivot away from the decades-long US-Japan security alliance and heightened concern over the North Korean threat.

“Our alliance with Japan has never been stronger,” Carter told reporters while en route to Yokota Air Base near Tokyo.

“This is a two-way street, we provide enhanced security to one another,” he added, saying he was “satisfied” with Japan’s contributions to the alliance.

Carter met upon landing with US troops, some of the 50,000 stationed in Japan, as part of a two-day visit to the long-time US ally.

He is also due to meet with his Japanese counterpart, Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday. Abe was the first world leader to meet with Trump after his surprise election victory last month, visiting the president-elect at Trump Tower in New York.