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Minister Ishiba Attends Seventh Asian Security Summit

Minister Ishiba delivers a speech at the Asian Security Summit in Singapore
Minister Ishiba delivers a speech at the Asian Security Summit in Singapore

On May 31 Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba attended the Seventh Asian Security Summit in Singapore, hosted by the British think tank, International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). He addressed the defense ministers and other representatives of 27 countries on the topic of "The Future of East Asian Security." (See below for the gist of the speech.)
    Following the meeting, Minister Ishiba had bilateral talks with his counterparts from seven countries, including the United States and Australia (see next page for summaries of the meetings), and paid a courtesy call on Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
    Minister Ishiba also delivered a speech on Japan’s defense policy at the international conference held in Tokyo from June 2 to 4 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the IISS.


Gist of Minister Ishiba’s Speech

  • The keyword for East Asia is "diversity." Diversity in such areas as ethnicity and religion could become a cause of conflicts.
  • The potential for conflicts that had remained latent due to the "Balance of Terror" during the Cold War has subsequently come to the surface. The 9/11 terrorist attacks have exposed the dangers of terrorism, which cannot effectively be dealt with deterrence by punishment.
  • Continuous effort to review the effectiveness of the balance of power is necessary to ensure stability in East Asia. China has an important role to play in the future of East Asian security. Enhanced transparency of China’s military capabilities and their purpose is strongly desired.
  • Bilateral efforts to tackle regional challenges by the United States and Japan with further determination and capabilities can contribute to the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region. Stronger reliance on the Alliance and greater emphasis on Asian Diplomacy are not mutually exclusive, and these two can be achieved simultaneously.
  • At present the Government of Japan has no plans to amend its Constitution nor change its interpretation. Should the issue of the right of collective self-defense come up for discussion in the National Diet at a future date, there would be a need to strictly prescribe the conditions under which it could be exercised and to explicitly state the Diet’s engagement. Such a move would have to be premised on winning the trust of the people of Asia. There would also be a need for a new "general law" for international peace cooperation activities that outlines Japan’s responsibilities for the peace and stability of the world and that shows a menu for responding proactively to the needs of the international community. Efforts are ongoing within the Japanese Government to reform the Ministry of Defense, and steps are being taken to achieve them at an early date.
  • There is a need to enhance Japan’s comprehensive capabilities of deterrence by denial, such as through a ballistic missile defense system and protection of our people. This should be realized not just by individual states but also through regional cooperation.

For the full text of Minister Ishiba’s speech, see:
http://www.mod.go.jp/e/publ/lastest/press06.html