JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.56

Japan–France Defense Ministerial Meeting

Signing the declaration of intent
Signing the declaration of intent

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera met with France Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Tokyo on July 29th, and discussed ways ahead for bilateral defense cooperation and exchange, as well as defense policies of each country. The summary of the meeting is as follows.

1. Overview

Minister Onodera welcomed Minister Le Drian’s visit to Japan, stating that he is glad to see the progress in Japan–France defense cooperation and exchange. He also referred to the fact that this time marks the 4th defense ministerial meeting between the two. Minister Onodera welcomed the signing of declaration of intent with the France Ministry of Defense on defense cooperation and exchange as well as the one on human resources exchange.

Minister Le Drian stated that each party has deeper understanding after a number of the defense ministerial meetings. He also stated that Japan is a significant partner country for France and that he would like to maintain the good relationship with Japan in the area of security as well.

2. Japan–France Defense Cooperation and Exchange

The Ministers agreed that they will exchange their views on what type of cooperation and exchange they can make in the field of defense equipment and technology and in the South Pacific region in order to continue to develop Japan–France defense cooperation and exchange, and thereby deepening the Japan–France relations further in the area of security and defense, based on the outcome of Japan–France Foreign Ministers and Defense Ministers meeting and defense ministerial meeting in January this year as well as bilateral defense ministerial meeting in May at the Shangri-La Dialogue along with the summit meeting that took place in May. They also welcomed the progress in discussion on the negotiation of the agreement that would work as a framework for defense equipment cooperation, as well as the possibility of cooperation in the area of defense equipment and technology.

3. Defense Policy

Minister Onodera introduced the recent process and cabinet decision by the GOJ on the development of security legislation. Minister Le Drian welcomed the GOJ’s determination and effort for more proactive contribution to international peace and stability, which will increase the opportunity for Japan–France cooperation. The Ministers agreed to continue their discussion in order to further deepen their understanding on security environment surrounding each country and to promote confidence-building.

Guard of Honor
Guard of Honor
Japan–France Defense Ministerial Meeting
Japan–France Defense Ministerial Meeting

Minister Onodera Meets the U.S. Navy Secretary

Minister Onodera Meets the U.S. Navy Secretary

On July 29th, 2014, Defense Minister Onodera met with Mr. Ray Mabus, the U.S. Secretary of the Navy. They exchanged their views on various challenges on security and defense.

During the meeting, Minister Onodera explained the intent of the cabinet decision by the GOJ on development of security legislation. Navy Secretary Mabus expressed that the U.S. welcomes and supports such efforts by the GOJ.

Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Wakamiya Visits France and the UK

Parliamentary Vice-Minister of Defense Kenji Wakamiya visited France and the UK from July 13th to 18th where he exchanged views with defense officials from both countries.

Ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the WWⅠ in Paris
Ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of
the WWI in Paris

France (July 13th–16th)

Vice-Minister Wakamiya took part in a ceremony for the 100th anniversary of the World War I on behalf of the Prime Minister and viewed a parade commemorating the French Revolution, in which the SDF also participated. He also held discussions with France Minister of Defense and defense officials from other countries in attendance. Vice-Minister Wakamiya visited a facility operated by the French Air Force as well.

With UK Foreign Secretary
With UK Foreign Secretary

UK (July 16th–18th)

Vice-Minister Wakamiya visited the Farnborough International Airshow where he toured the latest defense equipment on display by Japanese companies and other corporations. He also greeted UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond (previous Secretary of State for Defence) who was visiting the same airshow.

Vice-Minister Wakamiya met with Philip Dunne (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology) and Richard Paniguian (Head of the UK Trade and Investment Defence and Security Organisation) respectively and discussed Japan–UK defense cooperation, including in the field of defense equipment and technology. They also agreed to continue dialogue on further bilateral cooperation.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Visits Japan

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Visits Japan

Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense Takeda met U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Work at the Japan Ministry of Defense in Tokyo on August 22nd. The summary of the meeting is as follows.

1. Japan–U.S. Alliance, Regional Situation

The Senior Vice-Minister and the Deputy Secretary discussed security environment of the Asia-Pacific region, including the threat to regional peace and stability posed by North Korea’s provocative missile launches. They also confirmed the U.S. position on the Senkaku Islands and affirmed that the two countries continue to oppose any unilateral action that seek to change the status quo in the East China Sea and other areas. They underscored that the Japan–U.S. Alliance will continue to play an important role to ensure security of Japan as well as peace and stability in the region.

2. Japan’s Security Policy

Senior Vice-Minister Takeda explained the progress of security policy under the Abe administration, including the cabinet decision made in July on development of a new security legislation. Deputy Secretary Work welcomed and supported such initiatives by the GOJ. They agreed that they continue to closely coordinate their policies, and further enhance the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan–U.S. Alliance.

3. Revision of the Guidelines for Japan–U.S. Defense Cooperation

They agreed to continue bilateral discussion for the development of an interim report on the revision of the 1997 Guidelines for Japan–U.S. Defense Cooperation.

4. Impact Mitigation on Okinawa

Senior Vice-Minister and the Deputy Secretary welcomed the recent progress on construction of the Futenma Replacement Facility, and reconfirmed their commitment to complete construction of the facility at Camp Schwab, which is the only solution that avoids the continued use of MCAS Futenma.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Visits Japan

The Vice-Minister and the Deputy Secretary also confirmed that they will closely work together to advance concrete cooperation on impact mitigation on Okinawa. They discussed the relocation of KC-130 Squadron from MCAS Futenma to MCAS Iwakuni and noted the impending return of the west Futenma Housing Area to Japan in accordance with the Okinawa consolidation plan, and the importance of minimizing the numbers of aircrafts flying from outside to MCAS Futenma. They also highlighted the significant MV-22 training conducted off Okinawa and underscored the importance of safe military operations in Japan. Deputy Secretary Work affirmed that the U.S. is committed to exploring ways to reduce the impact of the U.S. presence in Okinawa.

The next day on August 23rd, Deputy Secretary Work also met with Defense Minister Onodera for a breakfast meeting.

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