Japan's centre-left Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama stressed in his first policy address to parliament on Monday that he wants a relationship of equals with the United States.
Hatoyama, who took power last month, was speaking ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit to Tokyo on November 12-13 and amid a worsening row about where to relocate a major US base on Okinawa island.
"The close and equal alliance between Japan and the United States is the foundation" of efforts to secure regional peace that would benefit Japan, Asia and the entire world, he said.
"Being equal means a relationship in which Japan can also actively propose roles and concrete actions that the Japan-US alliance could perform for global peace and security," the 62-year-old leader told the Diet.
Hatoyama also said he would hold "frank talks" about pending issues between the two long-standing allies, including touchy questions related to the 47,000-strong US troop presence in the country.
The flash point has been the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Base on Okinawa, a facility long opposed by many residents annoyed by aircraft noise, worried about accidents and angered by crimes committed by US service personnel.