Japan-New Zealand Defense Minister’s Video Teleconference
May 19, 2020
Japan Ministry of Defense
On May 19, 2020, Minister KONO had a video teleconference with the Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence, New Zealand.
- The two Ministers exchanged views on issues such as the roles to be played by the defense authorities given the global spread of COVID-19. Minister Kono explained about the Japan Self-Defense Forces’ (JSDF) activities on the cruise ship Diamond Princess and analysis by the SDF Central Hospital by using a presentation document (see attached). Minister Kono also explained the ongoing JSDF’s activities, such as measures at the airport, measures to prevent infection within the city, and infection-preventative measures undertaken in their operation which resulted in having no deployed member infected so far with the virus. Minister Mark also explained about the recent activities and measures taken by New Zealand.
- The two Ministers also exchanged views on current regional security issues including North Korea, the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and agreed to continue close communication. On this matter, Minister Kono mentioned the current events occurring in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and shared his view that they should strongly oppose any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by force and any activities that add to the tension and that the free and open maritime order based on the rule of law is important.
- Further, the two Ministers exchanged views on bilateral defense cooperation and exchanges. The Ministers welcomed that the bilateral cooperation regarding Pacific Island countries has been making progress, such as through the participation in the multinational HA/DR exercise “Christmas Drop” in December last year and shared a view to further widen cooperation in the region. Minister Kono pointed out the importance of further cooperation with other countries that share values and interests in order not to undermine the free and open international order that has been a cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the world. Moreover, Minister Kono, taking into consideration the implications of COVID-19, expressed the importance of both countries’ maintaining seamless defense posture and of continued and strengthened bilateral defense cooperation to uphold and reinforce a Free and Open Indo-Pacific with the support of New Zealand’s commitment in the region.
- The two Ministers agreed on the following three points bearing in mind the circumstances arisen by the spread of COVID-19
- sharing information, knowledge and lessons learned about the measures taken by the defense authorities towards overcoming COVID-19 at the earliest stage;
- necessity of sharing views on challenges of the current circumstances and potential effects of the spread of COVID-19 on the defense policy of each country; and
- promoting vigorously defense cooperation and exchanges to maintain and uphold fundamental Indo-Pacific principles of openness, transparency, respect for sovereignty and adherence to international law, while maintaining communication between the defense authorities.