Prime Minister Abe visits the ASDF Miyakojima Sub Base

On July 17, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the ASDF Miyakojima Sub Base. Mr. Abe offered words of encouragement to SDF personnel of the Miyakojima Sub Base at the front line of air defense of the southwestern area of Japan, as follows. “I ask that you exert every effort in your respective posts in order to firmly maintain Japan’s sovereignty with both confidence and pride.”

Defense Minister Onodera Visits Europe (Austria and Finland)

Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera visited Austria and Finland from July 29 to August 2. During the visit, he met Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano and Director of the office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Secretary General Peško in Vienna. In Helsinki, Mr. Onodera had a courtesy call on Prime Minister of Finland Jyrki Katainen, took part in a meeting with Permanent Secretary of Defence Arto Räty, and visited with MSDF training squadron that was calling on the local port to provide words of encouragement.

During their meeting in Vienna, IAEA Director General Amano briefed Mr. Onodera on the important role the IAEA played in response to Japan’s nuclear accident and mentioned the need for the SDF to respond in a timely manner to serious nuclear accidents. Mr. Onodera pointed out the importance of a collaborative approach to dealing with North Korea that involves the entire international community, and stated his expectations for the MOD/SDF to strengthen a cooperative relationship with the IAEA to cope with Japan’s nuclear accident.

During the meeting with Director of the office of the OSCE Secretary General Peško, Mr. Onodera stated the need to establish a similar permanent body as the OSCE in Asia to hold weekly dialog in the region.

During the courtesy call on Prime Minister of Finland Katainen, both parties agreed to maintain a sound bilateral relationship going forward and to strengthen cooperation between the countries further.

Mr. Onodera also visited Finland’s Ministry of Defence where he was briefed by Permanent Secretary of Defence Räty on the country’s defense policy and defense reforms that are currently underway. Mr. Onodera expressed his gratitude for hosting MSDF training squadron and provided a briefing on the security situation in East Asia.

Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense Akinori Eto Visits the United States

Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense Akinori Eto visited the United States from July 27 to August 1, and met with Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.

In the meeting with the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Mr. Eto and Dr. Carter confirmed that the alliance between Japan and the United States continues to play a key role in ensuring the safety of Japan as well as peace and stability in the region. In addition, both parties agreed that they would continue to closely cooperate with each other to build a robust alliance.

Mr. Eto explained to Dr. Carter on the in-house progress of the review work for Japan’s National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) including the details of the interim report released on July 26, and they exchanged views on this matter.

Furthermore, Mr. Eto and Dr. Carter agreed that they would continue to closely cooperate on this matter in order to build a robust alliance while linking the NDPG review work with the U.S. drafting process of the next QDR (Quadrennial Defense Review).

At the meeting with the Deputy Secretary of State, Mr. Eto discussed regional situations with Dr. Burns, and the two agreed on the importance of strengthening trilateral relationships involving Japan, the U.S., and Korea, as well as Japan, the U.S. and Australia, while further enhancing the Japan–U.S. alliance.

In addition, Mr. Eto also met with Senator McCain, Senator Reid, and Congresswoman Bordallo to ask for their cooperation for the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan including the relocation of U.S. Marine Corps units from Okinawa to Guam, and gained understanding on the importance of this matter.

Mr. Eto also visited the United States Naval Academy (Annapolis, Maryland) and Lockheed Martin (Dallas, Texas), the manufacturer of the F-35.

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