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MINISTERIAL MEETING

Japan-U.S. "Two-plus-Two" Meeting

The joint press conference after the Japan-U.S. "Two-plus-Two" Meeting
The joint press conference after the Japan-U.S. "Two-plus-Two" Meeting

Minister of Defense Fumio Kyuma and Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Aso attended the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (SCC) Meeting (the Two-plus-Two Meeting), held at the Department of State in Washington, D.C., on May 1. Their U.S. counterparts, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, also participated.
    In regard to the ongoing realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, the four SCC members reaffirmed the progress made so far with the initiatives described in the "United States-Japan Roadmap for Realignment Implementation" announced at the Two-plus-Two Meeting in May 2006 as well as the importance of steadily implementing the Roadmap. They also exchanged views on such topics as Japan-U.S. ballistic missile defense cooperation, reaffirmation of U.S. commitments, the roles, missions, and capabilities of the Self-Defense Forces and U.S. forces, and intelligence cooperation. After the meeting they held a press conference together and issued a joint statement, "Alliance Transformation: Advancing United States-Japan Security and Defense Cooperation."
    Ahead of the Two-plus-Two Meeting, on April 30, Defense Minister Kyuma held the Japan-U.S. Defense Ministerial Meeting with Defense Secretary Gates at the Department of Defense as the first defense minister after the Defense Agency's transition to the Ministry of Defense. The two discussed such issues as the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, information security, the successor to the F-4 fighter, and reconstruction assistance activities in Iraq.

Japan-U.S. ministerial-level defense talks
Japan-U.S. ministerial-level defense talks
Defense Minister Kyuma with U.S. Defense Secretary Gates in front of the Department of Defense
Defense Minister Kyuma with U.S. Defense Secretary Gates in front of the Department of Defense

Sixth IISS Asia Security Conference

Defense Minister Kyuma delivering his speech, "Nuclear Challenges," at the IISS Asia Security Conference
Defense Minister Kyuma delivering his speech, "Nuclear Challenges," at the IISS Asia Security Conference
Minister of Defense Fumio Kyuma attended the sixth Asia Security Conference (also known as the Shangri-la Dialogue), sponsored by the U.K.-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), held in Singapore June 1-3. At the beginning of his speech, "Nuclear Challenges," Defense Minister Kyuma pointed out two major developments in Japan's defense policy, the transition from the Defense Agency to the Ministry of Defense and the upgrading of international peace cooperation activities to a primary mission of the Self-Defense Forces.
    Defense Minister Kyuma stated that Japan, as the only country subjected to atomic bombs, aspires to a world free of nuclear weapons and proceeds toward nuclear disarmament through a practical and gradual approach, maintaining the frameworks for nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). He also stated that while firmly maintaining the "three nonnuclear principles" (not to possess, produce, or permit the introduction into Japan of nuclear weapons), Japan's basic security policy on nuclear issues is to respond properly to nuclear threats by establishing the necessary defense posture, including the introduction of ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems coupled with reliance on U.S. nuclear deterrence. In addition, he touched on the North Korean issue and efforts by the Ministry of Defense, such as the Proliferation Security Initiative, BMD, and response to WMD.
    While in Singapore, Defense Minister Kyuma had bilateral meetings with the defense ministers of India, New Zealand, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore, held the first Japan-U.S.-Australia defense ministerial meeting, and paid a courtesy call on Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Defense Minister Kyuma with Indian Defense Minister A. K. Antony (left foreground)
Defense Minister Kyuma with Indian Defense Minister A. K. Antony (left foreground)
Defense Minister Kyuma with Singapore Prime Minister Lee
Defense Minister Kyuma with Singapore Prime Minister Lee

Japan-Australia "Two-plus-Two" Meeting

The joint press conference after the Japan-Australia "Two-plus-Two" Meeting
The joint press conference after the Japan-Australia "Two-plus-Two" Meeting

Minister of Defense Fumio Kyuma held the Japan-Australia Joint Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations (the Two-plus-Two Meeting) with Minister for Foreign Affairs Taro Aso and Australian Minister for Defense Brendan Nelson and Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer in Tokyo on June 6. The consultations, based on the Japan-Australia Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation signed by the Japanese and Australian prime ministers in March this year, marked the first time Japan had conducted a two-plus-two meeting with any country other than the United States.
    Ahead of the consultations, on June 5, Defense Minister Kyuma held talks with Defense Minister Nelson. The two defense ministers welcomed the deepening of Japan-Australia defense cooperation since both countries' participation in the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Cambodia in 1992 and agreed on the promotion of unit-to-unit exchange through visits by aircraft, including the P-3C and the U-4, as well as by ships, and on the contribution that bilateral cooperation could make within trilateral (Japan-Australia-U.S.) and multilateral frameworks. They also decided to begin updating the Memorandum on Defense Exchange, signed by the two countries' defense ministers in 2003, as the Joint Declaration action plan in the field of defense. These agreements were praised and welcomed at the Two-plus-Two Meeting, and a joint statement to that effect was issued.