JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.78

SPECIAL FEATURE

The 15th IISS Asia Security Summit in Singapore – Shangri-La Dialogue –

From June 3rd to 5th, Minister of Defense Gen Nakatani attended the 15th IISS Asia Security Summit.

During the summit, he delivered a speech and held meetings with the defense ministers of countries represented at the Summit.

The 15th IISS Asia Security Summit in Singapore – Shangri-La Dialogue –

Speech by Minister of Defense Nakatani (excerpt)

Defense Minister Nakatani gave a speech on “Managing Military Competition in Asia,” which was the theme for the second plenary session. During the speech, with regards to the issue of regional security, and in particular the South China Sea, the Defense Minister Nakatani expressed concern that unilateral attempts to alter the status quo and consolidate such changes as fait accompli, such as large-scale and rapid land reclamation, building of outposts and utilization of them for military purposes are nothing but a daring challenge to the proper order, which is based on the principles of international law, and stated that only an order where the rule of the law is fully realized can lead the region to prosperity. He also emphasized the importance of implementing the Shangri-La Dialogue Initiative (SDI) (1: wider promotion of common rules and laws at sea and in the air in the region, 2: maritime and aerospace security, 3: improvement of our disaster response capability), which he proposed last year as a guideline for defense authorities, for bringing peace and stability to the region.

In addition, Defense Minister Nakatani explained the policy to engage in capacity building across the region related to maritime security and disaster relief by employing a “hybrid cooperation strategy for international security and peace” by combining various methods, such as capacity building assistance, joint training, and collaboration on defense equipment and technology, which is emerging as a new area of cooperation.

Furthermore, Defense Minister Nakatani called for broad discussions at various multinational forums for maintaining order based on the principles of international law and proposed seeking opportunity and venue to discuss and work on specific plan for implementing the SDI.

Japan-U.S.-Republic of Korea Defense Ministerial Meeting

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and ROK Minister of National Defense Han Minkoo

The Secretary and the Ministers strongly condemned the North Korea’s recent provocative actions and praised the close trilateral communication and cooperation that took place at various levels before and immediately following North Korea’s nuclear test and ballistic missile launches, and concluded that these trilateral efforts should be continued. In addition, the Secretary and the Ministers directed their administrative officials to explore ways to improve communication and coordination among the three defense authorities. The Secretary and the Ministers agreed to implement a first-ever trilateral missile warning exercise. They also discussed defense medical related events, other cultural exchanges, enhancement of information sharing, and maritime security.

Meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter


With regard to the arrest of a civilian component in Okinawa, Defense Minister Nakatani and Secretary of Defense Carter agreed to include reviewing SOFA implementation practices related to U.S. personnel with SOFA status including the civilian component, into the prevention measures against similar incidents. Both parties agreed that they oppose unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. As for North Korea’s provocations, they confirmed that Japan and the United States would continue to work closely together bilaterally, including using the Alliance Coordination Mechanism (ACM). Both parties agreed that efforts would be made to further reinforce the deterrence and response capabilities of the Japan-U.S. Alliance under the recently enforced Peace and Security Legislation and confirmed to continue efforts to ensure effectiveness of the new Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation. They also welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Reciprocal Defense Procurement (RDP-MOU) between Japan and the United States. Minister Nakatani reinforced the GOJ’s unchanged commitment that the Futenma Replacement Facility at Henoko is the only solution that permits the return of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. Secretary Carter appreciated the GOJ position and stated that the U.S. will maintain close cooperation with Japan in implementing the shared plans for the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan. Minister Nakatani asked for U.S. cooperation in impact mitigation on Okinawa including training relocation to the outside of the prefecture. Secretary Carter conveyed that the U.S. will continue to cooperate with Japan. The Ministers agreed to address early return of the facilities and areas south of Kadena, as well as a portion of the North Training Area.

Meeting with ROK Minister of National Defense Han Minkoo


Defense Minister Nakatani expressed his appreciation for the Republic of Korea’s assistance in the aftermath of the Kumamoto earthquake. Both ministers reaffirmed the importance of pushing forward with more Japan-ROK and Japan-U.S.-ROK security and defense cooperation. They also agreed to reinforce the emergency communication system between the Ministry of Defense and the ROK Ministry of National Defense already in place in order to communicate and coordinate more appropriately in the case of an emergency situation regarding national security were to occur, including issues regarding North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile testing. Additionally, with regards to Japan-ROK defense cooperation and exchange, both ministers commended the reinvigoration of exchange on various levels and agreed to continue pursuing cooperation when the opportunity presents itself, while Defense Minister Nakatani extended an invitation for ROK Minister of National Defense Han to visit Japan before the end of the year.

Meeting with Indian Minister of Defence Manohar Parrikar


Defense Minister Nakatani met with Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and had a Defence ministerial meeting. To begin, Minister Nakatani welcomed the opening of Exercise Malabar in Japan and expressed his appreciation for India’s decision for the MSDF to become a regular participant in this exercise and both ministers confirmed to further strengthen Japan-India and Japan-U.S.-India cooperation. Both ministers also shared their views on the regional situation, including the South China Sea, and shared their understanding about the importance of peaceful settlement of dispute and of ensuring the freedom of navigation and overflight based on the principles of international law. In addition, with regard to defense equipment and technology cooperation, both ministers confirmed to continue discussions on the US-2 and expressed their expectations that the working level discussions will be progressed on Japan-India defense equipment and technology cooperation.

Meeting with U.K. Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon


Defense Minister Nakatani welcomed advances being made in Japan-U.K. defense cooperation in the fields of defense equipment and technology, joint exercises, and capacity building assistance, since the Japan-U.K. Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting in January 2016. The Defense Minister stated he would work closely to realize the Typhoon fighter jet squadron’s visit to Japan and joint Japan-U.K. training exercise in the autumn. Secretary of State for Defence Fallon stated that he would work further to strengthen defense cooperation. With regard to capacity building assistance in Southeast Asia, both ministers welcomed the holding of the first working group between defense authorities this month. Both ministers exchanged their views on regional security, including the situation in the South China Sea, and shared the view that they will continue sharing information closely.

Meeting with French Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian


Defense Minister Nakatani stated that France is the only country in Europe with a constant presence in the Asia-Pacific region and that he welcomed France in strengthening its presence in the region. Minister of Defence Le Drian stated that France would continue to maintain its presence. Both ministers shared the view that they will pursue further defense cooperation and exchanges, including joint exercises, port calls, and defense equipment and technology cooperation. Furthermore, Defense Minister Nakatani conveyed his concerns about the ongoing attempts to alter the status quo in the South China Sea, and in response Minister of Defence Le Drian stated that securing the freedom of navigation is also important for France to maintain its presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Meeting with Italian Minister of Defence Roberta Pinotti


Defense Minister Nakatani stated that he looked forward to pursuing more Japan-Italy defense cooperation and exchanges, including the MSDF Oversea Training Cruise Force’s visit to Italy and defense equipment and technology cooperation, taking the opportunity of the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Italy. Minister of Defence Pinotti stated that she would like to sign the memorandum on defense cooperation and exchanges currently being drafted and pursue further cooperation going forward. Both ministers shared the same view regarding regional security, including the situation in the South China Sea.

Meeting with New Zealand Minister of Defence Gerry Brownlee


Defense Minister Nakatani and Minister of Defense Brownlee met for the third time. The ministers commended the frequent personnel exchanges at various levels between the two countries, including ministerial meetings and mutual vision at vice-ministerial level. Both ministers shared their views on unit exchanges and defense equipment and technology cooperation, and then agreed to pursue further defense cooperation in the future. They also shared their views on the regional situation, including the situation in the South China Sea, and reaffirmed the importance of peaceful resolutions of disputes and the rule of law. The ministers agreed to develop bilateral relations, which form a strategic cooperative partnership in the Asia-Pacific region.

Meeting with Canadian Minister of National Defence Harjit Singh Sajjan


Defense Minister Nakatani first congratulated Minister of National Defence Sajjan for his appointment as minister and reaffirmed with Minister of National Defense Sajjan that both Canada and Japan are Asian-Pacific nations and partners that share the same values. Both ministers welcomed the steady progress being made with bilateral defense exchanges, including regular meetings and the mutual visits of naval vessels. They also reaffirmed that further exchanges will be advanced under the new administration in Canada. The two ministers also shared their views on the regional situation, including the South China Sea, sharing their concerns and issues concerning maritime security while also agreeing that conflict should be resolved peacefully in accordance with international law.

Meeting with Singaporean Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen


Defense Minister Nakatani expressed his respect for Singapore’s efforts to host the Shangri-La Dialogue and also thanked his counterpart for allowing SDF ships and aircraft to use Singapore’s port and airfield in order to participate in counter piracy operations. With regard to the situation in the South China Sea, Defense Minister Nakatani stated the importance of solving disputes peacefully under the international law. In response, Minister for Defence Ng stated that the issue is a problem that is not easily solved, but he expected candid discussions to take place within the framework of the Shangri-La Dialogue. Furthermore, both ministers agreed to continue strengthening relations through specific defense cooperation and exchange in various fields, including high level exchanges, MSDF port calls, and hosting of international students at defense academies.

Other

Defense Minister Nakatani also met with U.S. Senators including Senator John McCain, as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services.

On June 4th, Vice-Minister of Defense for International Affairs Mimura met with Admiral Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of China’s Central Military Commission. Both agreed that friendly bilateral relations between Japan and China will contribute not only to the peace and prosperity of Japan and China, but also the peace and prosperity of the region and the world, and they reaffirmed the importance of Japan-China defense exchanges. In addition, with regards to the situation in the South China Sea, Admiral Sun Jianguo expressed China’s fundamental stance and Vice-Minister of Defense for International Affairs Mimura pointed out the importance of the rule of law as he explained Japan’s position.

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