Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will remain in close contact, while involving South Korea in the aftermath of the demise Kim Jong Il, the North Korean tyrant, over the weekend.

North Korea is hostile to the US but displays virulent hatred for Japan to which it is geographically much closer.

"We affirmed we will closely monitor the situation, and coordinate closely with each other by sharing information between Tokyo and Washington, and among Japan, the United States and South Korea," announced Clinton and Genba.

This message was reinforced in a telephone conversation today between Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and President Barack Obama.

The foreign minister, by coincidence, is on a three-day visit to the United States as Clinton's guest, and reiterated the shared view of  Tokyo, Washington and Seoul that collaboration was needed to dissuade Pyongyang from pursuing its nuclear programs.

While Genba promised to consult, the Chinese the communiques were significant in downplaying China and ignoring Russia. Both countries are players in the six power talks on North Korea.

Genba used the visit to announce officially that Japan has chosen US-built F-35 stealth jets as its next-generation mainstay fighter - a deal estimated  valued upwards of $4 billion.

Clinton further assured her guest by touting America's alliance with Japan "as the cornerstone of its strategic engagement throughout the Asia- Pacific" which has helped safeguard regional security.