By Geneva Sands - 04/30/12 04:01 PM EDT
The public statements will follow a bilateral meeting between the two leaders covering a wide-ranging agenda, including the U.S.-Japan security alliance, economic and trade issues and regional and global security concerns, according to the White House.
Last week State and Defense department officials pledged to cooperate closely with Congress on a new defense pact with Japan that will cut the number of U.S. troops on Okinawa in half.
"Japan is not just a close ally, but also a close friend. And I look forward to deepening that friendship and strengthening our partnership as, together, we address security challenges in the region," said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in a statement released Thursday.
However, a bipartisan group of senators vowed to block any funding for the new plan, which moves half of the 18,000-strong Marine Corps force from Okinawa to Guam and other bases in the Pacific.
In the evening, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosts a dinner for the visiting prime minister at National Geographic, where they will announce a "new gesture of friendship between" the two countries, according to the State Department.
—This event has concluded.