JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.85

SPECIAL FEATURE

Minister of Defense’s Visits to Belgium and France

Minister of Defense’s Visits to Belgium and France

From January 4th to 8th, Minister of Defense Inada visited Belgium and France, where she held a meeting with the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as well as took part in the Japan-France Defense Ministerial Meeting and the Japan-France Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting. Minister of Defense Inada also gave a lecture at IRSEM (the Institute for Strategic Research).

Minister of Defense’s Visits to Belgium and France
Minister of Defense’s Visits to Belgium and France

Meeting between the Minister of Defense and Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO

On January 5th, Minister of Defense Inada held a meeting with Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, in Brussels. They exchanged views on Japan-NATO defense exchanges and the regional situation.

1. Introduction

Secretary General Stoltenberg welcomed Minister of Defense Inada’s visit and extended his thanks to Japan for playing a much larger role in the peace and stability of international society. Additionally, with the global security environment changing due to the emergence of new threats, Secretary General Stoltenberg explained that cooperation with partner countries will become more important than ever, and therefore, NATO is looking forward to continuing its active exchanges with Japan.

In response, Minister of Defense Inada noted that this visit marks the first time in 10 years for a Japanese Minister of Defense to visit NATO, which is a “natural”and “reliable” partner of Japan. She also stressed the rising importance of Japan-NATO cooperation, given the increasingly severe security environment facing the world. In addition, Minister of Defense Inada stated that the Japan-U.S. alliance represents the foundation of Japan’s security and that NATO is an important alliance system connecting Europe and the United States, and pointed out that it is important for the United States to continue to serve as the main player in the world’s peace and security. Minister of Defense Inada said that she would like to continue working together with Secretary General Stoltenberg to further enhance Japan’s relationship with NATO.

Also, Minister of Defense Inada explained about the establishment and implementation of Japan’s Legislation for Peace and Security, and Secretary General Stoltenberg stated that he welcomed the Legislation for Peace and Security that reflects the new security environment.

2. Japan-NATO Cooperation

Both parties affirmed the importance of Japan-NATO cooperation for combating many issues facing today’s security environment, and agreed to cooperate in various fields, including maritime security (anti-piracy operations), cyber security, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR), and women, peace and security (WPS). Additionally, Minister of Defense Inada stated that she would like to dispatch a liaison officer to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and also to continue dispatching a SDF officer to NATO headquarters, which has continued since 2014, in order to continue to strengthen cooperation in these fields. Secretary General Stoltenberg stated that he welcomed both.

3. Regional/International Situation

Both parties shared their views on North Korea and the situation in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. They agreed on the importance of peaceful resolutions to conflicts under international law and affirmed that they would continue to share their views on the situation surrounding both countries.

Japan-France Defense Ministerial Meeting

On January 5th, Minister of Defense Inada met with French Defence Minister Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian during her visit to Paris for the Third Japan-France Foreign and Defence Ministers’ Meeting (“2+2”). In the meeting, they exchanged views on both country’s defense policy and Japan-France defense cooperation.

1. Introduction

Minister of Defence Le Drian welcomed Minister of Defense Inada’s visit to France and stated that he finds it important to strengthen cooperation in the defense field with Japan, as Japan shares the same basic values as France. In response, Minister of Defense Inada stated that France is a member of Europe and is also a Pacific Nation with its territories in the Asia Pacific region, and that it is now more important than ever to strengthen the relationship between Japan-France defense authorities which are exceptional partners in addressing security issues facing the international community.

2. Defense Policy of both Countries

The two ministers explained their country’s defense policy and welcomed the role that both countries play in world peace and stability. Also, Minister of Defense Inada explained that Japan’s security policy is based on (1) development of defense capabilities, (2) the Japan-U.S. alliance, and (3) cooperative relationships with other countries. Minister Inada stated that the Japan-U.S. alliance is the pillar of Japan’s security and that the alliance system such as Japan-U.S. alliance and NATO serves as the foundation of the world order. She stressed that it is important for the United States to continue being engaged in peace and stability of the world. Minister of Defence Le Drian agreed with this statement.

Furthermore, both ministers shared their views on maritime security and shared the belief that disputes should be resolved based on the principle of the rule of law and not force. They also affirmed that they would closely cooperate on anti-piracy operations.

3. Japan-France Defense Cooperation

The two ministers welcomed the fact that in recent years Japan-France defense cooperation and exchanges have steadily progressed and agreed to further strengthen cooperation in the fields of defense and security. The two ministers welcomed the entry into force of the Defense Equipment and Technology Transfer agreement in December 2016. They affirmed that they will materialize the joint research concerning next-generation underwater mine detection technology as the first concrete cooperation in the field of defense equipment and technology. They also agreed that it is extremely important to strictly implement export control and carefully secure technologies. In addition, the two ministers affirmed the importance of building a legislative foundation, including the Japan-France ACSA, in order to further implement defense cooperation.

Furthermore, Minister of Defence Le Drian stated that he would like to promote Japan-France cooperation in Africa. In response, Minister of Defense Inada welcomed the French Military’s support provided to the SDF working in Djibouti and that she would like to continue discussing the situation in the Middle East and Africa.

The Third Japan-France Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting (“2+2”)

On January 6th, Ms. Tomomi Inada, Minister of Defense of Japan, and Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, who visited France, held the Third Japan-France Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting with Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France, and Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Defense of France. The meeting lasted for approximately two hours in total, from 6:20 pm to 7:00pm for discussion and from 7:15pm to 8:30pm for working dinner. A joint communique was issued on this occasion.

1. General Issues

1. The four ministers confirmed the strong determination of Japan and France, that they are “exceptional partners” sharing fundamental values and a common responsibility for the peace and stability of the international community, to collaborate in responding to international security challenges including those in the Asia-Pacific region.

2. As the international order based on the rule of law is facing challenges, the four ministers confirmed that they would closely cooperate to secure a free and open Indo-Pacific through the consolidation of the rule of law at sea.

2. Security and Defense Cooperation

1. The four ministers agreed to start negotiations of the Japan-France Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA).

2. The four ministers welcomed the entry into force of the Agreement concerning the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology last December, and confirmed that they would materialize the cooperation regarding unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV) for mine detection as the first collaboration project.

3. The four ministers confirmed that they would deepen cooperation on promotion of joint exercises including one on the occasion of the visit by a French training cruiser “Jeanne d’Arc” to Japan, and on collaboration in assistance for capacity-building of Asian and African countries in such areas as maritime security and counter-terrorism.

4. The four ministers expressed their expectation that cooperation would be realized in the area of space, including space situational awareness (SSA). Also, they affirmed to maintain cooperation on measures of nuclear disarmament.

3. Regional Situations

1. Taking into account the security environment in the Asia Pacific region which is turning increasingly severe due to such situations as the South China Sea, the East China Sea, and North Korea, the Japanese side expressed its expectation of France’s more proactive and constructive response in the region. Moreover, the four ministers shared concerns over the security environment in the region, and confirmed that they would closely cooperate in various efforts such as to consolidate the rule of law.

2. The four ministers reconfirmed the serious concern over the development of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile program, and strongly urged North Korea to immediately resolve the abductions issue.

3. Also, the four ministers exchanged views on the Middle East situations including Syria, Iraq, Iran, and the Middle East peace process, as well as the situations of Russia and Ukraine.

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