MEETING WITH FOREIGN LEADERS

Defense Minister Onodera Visits the United States

On April 29, Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera met his counterpart U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Department of Defense in the United States.

At the start of the meeting, both parties reaffirmed that the Japan–U.S. Alliance is the cornerstone of both national security and regional stability. Given the success of the Japan–U.S. Summit Meeting in February 2013, they confirmed the significance of raising the cooperative relationship to a new step.

During the meeting, both parties discussed the security environment in the Asia-Pacific region. With regards to the situation in North Korea, Mr.Onodera explained that Japan was fully prepared to take actions necessary and that it would not be swayed by North Korea’s provocations.

On the Senkaku Islands, Mr.Onodera also explained Japan’s basic position that the islands are clearly an inherent part of the territory of Japan based on historical records and international law. He noted that Japan is determined to protect its territory, territorial waters and airspace.

Secretary Hagel stated that Article 5 of the Japan–U.S. Security Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands and that the United States is opposed to any unilateral action that aim to change the status quo of the Senkaku Islands by force.

Furthermore, during the meeting, both parties recognized the importance of reviewing Japan–U.S. defense cooperation and each country’s roles in order to respond to this changing security environment. They welcomed the progress of bilateral discussion to share views on strategic environment, which serve as a basis for the reviewing process of the Guide lines, and agreed to continue this intensively.

Finally, both confirmed that close cooperation would be maintained between Japan and the United States on a variety of topics going forward, including the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan.

Defense Minister Onodera Meets NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

On April 15, Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera met NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen during his visit to Japan. During their meeting, they discussed the regional situation and Japan–NATO defense cooperation.

Mr. Onodera welcomed the NATO Secretary General’s visit to Japan, which was the first time in six years. Japan and NATO share the same fundamental values and have been working together to address common security issues, including anti-piracy activities and international peace cooperation activities. Mr. Onodera stated his hope that Japan and NATO continue to develop such cooperation.

Mr. Rasmussen stated that North Korea’s provocative words and activities are a serious threat to the peace and stability of the international community, and that NATO strongly denounces such words and actions. He also emphasized that his visit was important from the standpoint of deepening the Japan–NATO relationship and that the joint political declaration signed between the Prime Minister of Japan and him is a framework for such efforts.

As for Japan–NATO defense cooperation and exchanges, Mr. Onodera shared his view that overall Japan–NATO defense exchanges are steadily moving forward. They discussed working level exchange as well as education and research exchange, and the progress in the fields of cyber defense and anti-piracy activities. Mr. Onodera also expressed his expectation that the two parties would further discuss cooperation in the fields of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.



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