JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.97

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Japan-U.S. Defense Ministerial Meeting

Japan-U.S. Defense Ministerial Meeting

On April 20th, Minister Onodera held a meeting with the U.S. Secretary of Defense Mattis.

In the meeting, they affirmed to maintain pressure and sanctions to compel North Korea to abandon all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in a complete,verifiable and irreversible fashion.

In addition, Secretary Mattis applauded the efforts implemented by the JMSDF regarding illegal ship-to-ship transfers of goods.

He also reaffirmed further promotion of Japan-U.S. defense cooperation, through the Legislation for Peace and Security and the steady implementation of the Guidelines for Japan-U.S.Defense Cooperation, and confirmed cooperation to strengthen Japan’s defense capabilities, including making improvements in challenges regarding Foreign Military Sales (FMS).

In response to Minister Onodera’s request to ensure the safe operations of U.S. forces, including CV-22 expected to be deployed in Yokota Air Base and U.S. military aircraft based in Okinawa, Secretary Mattis expressed his recognition of the importance of safe operations, and agreed to work together in obtaining understanding of local communities.

It is highly significant that Japan and the U.S. have affirmed their agreement on a recognition and policy regarding the issue of North Korea following the Japan-U.S. Summit Meeting, and in advance of the U.S.-North Korea Summit Meeting. With this relationship of mutual trust between Minister Onodera and Secretary Mattis, great efforts will be made to solve issues in the region.

Japan-U.S. Defense Ministerial Meeting
Japan-U.S. Defense Ministerial Meeting
Japan-U.S. Defense Ministerial Meeting

Establishment of the Ground Component Command and Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade

The Ground Component Command and Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade were established on March 27.The JGSDF is proceeding with a large-scale reorganization based on National Defense Program Guidelines and the Mid-Term Defense Program designed to improve responses to the security environment surrounding Japan. The establishment of the Ground Component Command and Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade symbolizes the efforts of the JGSDF.

In order to respond to the situations that requires faster mobilization of joint forces consisting of land, sea, and air components on a national level, such as attacks by ballistic missiles, attacks against remote islands and large-scale disasters, the Ground Component Command has been established to integrate command and control system to mobilize the JGSDF’s units flexibly beyond the boundary of the existing five area commands.

The Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade is established with the size of 2,100 personnel. The duty of the Brigade is to conduct amphibious tactics for quick landing, recapturing, and securing the islands in case of illegal occupation. The Brigade will further strengthen its amphibious tactical functions by conducting continual training for equipment including the newly introduced AAV7 and the V-22 Osprey.

Establishment of the Ground Component Command and Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade
Establishment of the Ground Component Command and Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade

Japan-Viet Nam Defense Ministerial Meeting

Japan-Viet Nam Defense Ministerial Meeting

On April 9th, Minister Onodera and General Ngo Xuan Lich, the Minister of Defence of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam held a meeting at the MOD.

1 Introduction

Minister Onodera welcomed Minister Lich’s visit to Japan for the first Japan-Viet Nam Defense Ministerial Meeting held since the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) meeting last October. He expressed his intention to further facilitate the Japan-Viet Nam defense cooperation and exchanges in accordance with the Joint Vision Statement on Japan-Viet Nam Relations that had been signed prior to this meeting.

Minister Lich replied that he felt honored to be able to visit Japan, and also welcomed the prospect of further Japan-Viet Nam defense cooperation and exchanges in the coming years.

2 Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy

Minister Onodera expressed his intention to cooperate with Viet Nam in carrying out initiatives based on the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, which states that a rule-based, free and open maritime order is the cornerstone for stability and prosperity in the international society.

In response, Minister Lich emphasized the importance of regional peace and stability, and maintenance of the freedom of navigation and overflight. He also stressed the importance of establishing a rule-based stable, free and open maritime order in the Indo-Pacific region.

3 Regional Affairs

Both Ministers exchanged views on regional affairs, including North Korea and the South China Sea. In regard to North Korea, Minister Onodera stated the necessity to continue to maximize pressure to ensure a complete, verifiable and irreversible abandonment of nuclear tests and missiles by North Korea. He also expressed his intention to cooperate with Viet Nam to achieve this goal.

In response, Minister Lich stated his support of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and expressed his intention to observe the United National Security Council Resolution and cooperate with the rest of the international community including Japan.

In regard to the South China Sea, both Ministers called for self-restraint in unilateral attempts to change the status quo there, including militarization. They also agreed on the importance of realizing a peaceful resolution of conflicts in accordance with international laws including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and to reach an early conclusion of an effective code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.

4 Japan-Viet Nam Defense Cooperation and Exchanges

Both Ministers highly evaluated the progress in Japan-Viet Nam defense cooperation centering on military exchanges. They both agreed on strengthening military exchanges, and continuing with cooperation in search and rescue aviation activities, and in other areas including hygiene, UN peacekeeping operations (PKO), humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR), and cyber security. Both Ministers confirmed the next meeting will be at the 6th Japan-Viet Nam Vice-Ministerial Level Talks to be held in Japan.

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