First Japan–U.S. Security Consultative Committee (SCC) “2+2” Ministerial Meeting in Four Years

(From left) Defense Minister Kitazawa, U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates,Foreign Minister Matsumoto, and U.S. Secretary of State Clinton in a joint press conference.
(From left) Defense Minister Kitazawa, U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates,Foreign Minister Matsumoto, and U.S. Secretary of State Clinton in a joint press conference.

On June 21, Defense Minister Kitazawa and Foreign Minister Matsumoto, who were visiting Washington, D.C, United States, held the Japan–U.S. Security Consultative Committee (SCC) “2+2” Ministerial Meeting for the first time in four years with Secretary of Defense Gates and Secretary of State Clinton.

The two sides affirmed the fruits that the consultative process for deepening the Japan–U.S. Alliance–which has advanced as a result of the 50th anniversary of the Japan–U.S. Security Treaty–has borne in the areas of security and defense. In view of the growing uncertainty of the security environment surrounding Japan and the region, the two sides reviewed and reaffirmed the common strategic objectives of the Japan–U.S. Alliance set out in 2005 and 2007, and established the following as its common strategic objectives, addressing to the military buildup of North Korea, China, Russia, and others in the region, cooperation between Japan, United States, and Korea, providing support to fragile states, counter-terrorism and disaster relief, nuclear safety, freedom of navigation, and space and cyberspace, etc.

The two sides also agreed to specify priority fields for the deepening and cooperation between Japan and the United States. These fields include cooperation on warning and surveillance, third-country transfer of SM3 Block IIA, extended deterrence, space, cyberspace trilateral and multilateral cooperation, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, environmental cooperation, enhancement of bilateral Japan–U.S. frameworks, study to address to the tread of the international joint development and production.

In addition to deciding that the two runways aligned in the Futenma Replacement Facility is to have a V-plan, and reviewing the previously targeted date of 2014 for the completion of relocation of the air station and relocation of Ⅲ MEF personnel to Guam, the two sides also concurred on strengthening and steadily implementing the 2006 roadmap. In order to realize the early completion of the plan to avoid the indefinite use of the MCAS Futenma, as well as the promotion of impact reduction measures. Furthermore, in light of the joint response taken by the two countries toward the Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear power plant accident, the two sides agreed to enhance the two countries’ abilities to respond to a wide variety of contingencies in the future.

Attendance at the Asia Security Summit by Defense Minister Kitazawa and Bilateral Talks Among the Respective Defense Ministers

Speech by Defense Minister at the IISS Asia Security Summit

Defense Minister Kitazawa delivering a speech at the IISS Asia Security Summit.
Defense Minister Kitazawa delivering a speech at the IISS Asia Security Summit.

On June 3 and 4, Defense Minister Kitazawa attended the IISS Asia Security Summit in Singapore and gave a speech entitled “New Military Doctrines and Capabilities in Asia.”

He commenced the speech by explaining the SDF’s response to the disaster caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake and thanking each country for the support.

Next, he reaffirmed his commitments toward reconstruction, and to further fulfill his role in order to realize speedy and effective disaster relief operations, such as providing support for capacity building. At the same time, he offered three proposals -(1) Study on establishment of relief bases during large-scale disasters; (2) Study on active use of unmanned aerial vehicles and robots in nuclear accidents, as well as holding a meeting on the cooperation among defense authorities for contingencies, and (3) Dispatch of a SDF medical officer to IAEA in order to share the knowledge and experience gained through the nuclear accident with the international community.

Under the direction laid out in the new National Defense Program Guidelines formulated in December last year, and in consideration of the lessons gained through this disaster, Defense Minister Kitazawa indicated his intentions to continue to study the structural reform of the SDF, and to make efforts to put it into practice.

Finally, he expressed his wish to promote multifaceted cooperation through deepening of the Japan–US Alliance and the promotion of networks for bilateral and multilateral security cooperation, and discuss various issues, including traditional security issues, creating regional multilateral dialogues free of taboo topics.

Japan–U.S. Defense Ministerial Meeting

Defense Minister Kitazawa delivering a speech at the IISS Asia Security Summit.
Defense Minister Kitazawa delivering a speech at the IISS Asia Security Summit.

During his attendance at the Asia Security Summit, Defense Minister Kitazawa held a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates in Singapore.

At the commencement of the meeting, Defense Minister Kitazawa expressed his gratitude for the support provided by the U.S. government, military forces and civilian employees in the Great East Japan Earthquake, and in particular, the large-scale support provided during Operation Tomodachi. At the same time, he affirmed that closely coordinated joint response efforts were enabled by years of bilateral investments in planing, training, and exercises. He commented that, not only did this further enhance the effectiveness of the SDF’s activities, it also gave the citizens great sense of security.

In response, Secretary of Defense Gates expressed his condolences for the victims of the disaster, and stated that the U.S. continues to do all it can to support Japan. Furthermore, the two parties affirmed the importance of utilizing the lessons learnt from this experience in future joint activities, and the importance of such close bilateral cooperation to peace and stability with regard to the regional security.

Following that, Defense Minister Kitazawa stated that BMD systems including SM-3 Block II A are inherently defensive and cannot be substituted. He added that Japan’s active involvement in BMD systems comforms to its basic principle as a nation striving for peace. Minister Kitazawa also stated that he is studying opportunities to reach an understanding in the next Security Consultative Committee in a way that transfer of the SM-3 Block ⅡA to third parties by the United States may be allowed in cases where the transfer supports the national security of Japan and/or contributes to international peace and stability; and when the third party has sufficient polices to prevent the further transfer of the SM-3 Block ⅡA. Secretary Gates welcomed this announcement and observed that the criteria described by Minister Kitazawa should play an important role in the third party transfer process.

Minister Kitazawa explained Japan’s whole-of-government efforts to implementthe May 2010 Security Consultative Committee (SCC) Joint Statement. Minister Kitazawa and Secretary Gates reaffirmed that they will continue to closely cooperate in order to announce, by the time of the next Security Consultative Committee meeting, a Futenma Replacement Facility runway configuration decision. They agreed that such an announcement is essential to making progress towards Futenma’s relocation and that the current relocation plan is the most operationally viable and politically sustainable way forward. Furthermore, Minister Kitazawa stated that what are essential are the earliest possible relocation of Futenma Air Station so as to avoid the permanent stationing of forces at the base. Minister Kitazawa and Secretary Gates confirmed that the relocation to the Futenma Replacement Facility would occur when the facility is fully operationally capable.

Japan–Indonesia Defense Ministerial Meeting

Defense Minister Kitazawa delivering a speech at the IISS Asia Security Summit.
Defense Minister Kitazawa delivering a speech at the IISS Asia Security Summit.

Defense Minister Kitazawa met with Indonesia’s Minister of Defense Pur nomo and exchanged opinions on topics such as Japan–Indonesia defense cooperation and the regional security situation.

During the talk, the two Ministers concurred on strengthening cooperation between the two countries in fields such as disaster relief and maritime security, and on deepening mutual defense cooperation.

Japan–Russia Meeting

Defense Minister Kitazawa delivering a speech at the IISS Asia Security Summit.
Defense Minister Kitazawa delivering a speech at the IISS Asia Security Summit.

Defense Minister Kitazawa met with Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister (the former Minister of Defense) Ivanov, and exchanged opinions on topics such as Japan–Russia defense exchanges and cooperation. The two parties concurred on the great importance of enhancing mutual understanding and trust through various defense exchanges, and on realizing Defense Minister’s visit to Russia as soon as possible.

In light of the trends toward the enhancement of military capability by Russia in the northern territories, Defense Minister Kitazawa commented that Russia shoulders a great responsibility in ensuring peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

Japan–Australia Defense Ministerial Meeting

Minister for Defense Smith meeting with Defense Minister Kitazawa.
Minister for Defense Smith meeting with Defense Minister Kitazawa.

Defense Minister Kitazawa met with Australia’s Minister for Defense Smith.

At the commencement of the meeting, Defense Minister Kitazawa expressed his appreciation for Australia’s generous support toward Japan after the Great East Japan Earthquake, including the dispatch of C-17 aircraft, and gave explanations on the responses by the SDF and the situation of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Minister for Defense Smith expressed that the Japan-U.S.- Australia efforts undertaken in the aftermath of the disaster was a good example of the concrete forms of cooperation built up by the three countries thus far.

During the talk, the two Ministers agreed to work closely together toward the next Japan–Australia “2+2,” and to deepen discussions in the next “2+2” on topics such as visions for Japan- Australia security and defense cooperation in the future, Japan–Australia cooperation in disaster prevention and disaster relief, and strengthening cooperation between Japan, the United States, and Australia. The two parties concurred on accelerating negotiations in order to reach the signing of an agreement on information security at the next “2+2,” as agreed upon at the Japan–Australia Leaders Meeting held in April.

Minister for Defense Smith talked about the importance of developing and deepening bilateral and multilateral cooperative relationships between Japan, the United States, and Australia amidst the shifting power balance of the region.

Japan–Korea Defense Ministerial Meeting

Minister of Defense Kim Kwan-Jin shaking hands with Defense Minister Kitazawa.
Minister of Defense Kim Kwan-Jin shaking hands with Defense Minister Kitazawa.

Defense Minister Kitazawa met with Australia’s Minister for Defense Smith.

Defense Minister Kitazawa met with Korean Minister of Defense Kim Kwan-Jin.

At the commencement of the talk, Defense Minister Kitazawa expressed his appreciation for the support provided by the Korean Government and the people of Korea toward Japan after the Great East Japan Earthquake, including the dispatch of C-130 aircraft, and provided explanations on the SDF’s activities and the roadmap for response to the nuclear disaster. In response, Minister of Defense Kim expressed that Korea has enjoyed close cooperative ties with Japan for several decades, and that it was natural for Korea to extend a helping hand to Japan.

During the talk, the two Ministers concurred on the importance of concluding the Japan–Korea ACSA and an information security agreement and beginning work as soon as possible, in view of the agreement reached in the Defense Ministerial talk in January this year. The agreements would form the basis for cooperation between the SDF and the Korean Army.

With regard to the North Korean situation, the two Ministers exchanged opinions and agreed to continue working closely together to deal with North Korean issues.

The two Ministers then concurred on realizing a visit by Minister of Defense Kim to Japan within this year, in order to further deepen defense cooperation between Japan and Korea.

Japan–China Defense Ministerial Meeting

General Liang Guanglie, China’s Minister for National Defense shaking hands with Defense Minister Kitazawa.
General Liang Guanglie, China’s Minister for National Defense shaking hands with Defense Minister Kitazawa.

Defense Minister Kitazawa met with Australia’s Minister for Defense Smith.

Defense Minister Kitazawa met with General Liang Guanglie, China’s Minister for National Defense.

At the commencement of the meeting, Defense Minister Kitazawa expressed his appreciation for China’ s support toward Japan after the Great East Japan Earthquake, and Minister for National Defense Liang conveyed his condolences and hopes for early recovery and reconstruction.

During the meeting, the two Ministers shared the view that with calm dialogues between the defense authorities of the two countries, which are both neighbors and partners, promotion of Japan–China defense exchanges will serve as the foundation for a strategic relationship based on mutual interests, and contribute to the strengthening of trust and friendship relations, as well as to greater transparency in defense policies.

Furthermore, Defense Minister Kitazawa expressed his hopes for the realization of his visit to China soon, to which Minister Liang responded that he would always be welcome. The two Ministers also agreed to work toward the early realization of a visit to Japan by Ma Xiaotian, the deputy head of the General Staff Department, People’ s Liberation Army.

Defense Minister Kitazawa also urged greater efforts of China’s to further enhance transparency in its defense policies and military capabilities, and to prevent the recurrence of closeproximity flights by People’s Liberation Army aircraft to MSDF vessels, such as which occurred recently.

The two Ministers then concurred on holding the third working-level conference at an early date toward the establishment of a marine communication mechanism between the defense authorities in order to prevent contingency situations at sea.

Japan–Singapore Defense Ministerial Meeting

General Liang Guanglie, China’s Minister for National Defense shaking hands with Defense Minister Kitazawa.
General Liang Guanglie, China’s Minister for National Defense shaking hands with Defense Minister Kitazawa.

Defense Minister Kitazawa met with Minister for Defense Ng. During the talk, Minister for Defense Ng showed a keen interest in the lessons learned by Japan from the Great East Japan Earthquake, and both sides concurred on the importance of sharing such information among countries in the region, and to enhance disaster response capabilities of the region.

Japan–Vietnam Defense Ministerial Meeting

General Liang Guanglie, China’s Minister for National Defense shaking hands with Defense Minister Kitazawa.
General Liang Guanglie, China’s Minister for National Defense shaking hands with Defense Minister Kitazawa.

Defense Minister Kitazawa met with Minister of National Defense Thanh, and the two Ministers exchanged opinions on topics such as defense cooperation and exchange between the two countries, as well as the regional security situation including the situation pertaining to the South China Sea. Both sides concurred on the realization of a visit to Japan by Minister of National Defense Thanh within this year, and agreed to deepen bilateral defense cooperation and exchanges.

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