Minister of Defense Iwaya’s Visit to U.S.
On April 19th, the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (SCC) (Japan-U.S. “2+2”) was convened in Washington, D.C., the U.S. The meeting was attended by Minister for Foreign Affairs Kono and Minister of Defense Iwaya, from the Japanese side, and the Secretary of State Pompeo and the Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan from the U.S. side.
The four ministers exchanged candid views in light of an increasingly complex security environment and mainly confirmed the following three points.
1. They shared the view that the Japan-U.S. Alliance serves as the cornerstone of peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, and that Japan and the U.S. will work together to realize a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” To this end, they confirmed that Japan and the U.S. will jointly increase their presence in the region, while collaborating with partners in the region through joint exercises, port calls, and other activities.
2. They welcomed the alignment of the strategic policy documents of both countries, including Japan’s new National Defense Program Guidelines. They shared the view that the two countries will strengthen cooperation for cross-domain operations, including capability enhancement in new domains, such as space, cyberspace, and the electromagnetic spectrum.
3. They reaffirmed that U.S. force posture in the region would remain robust, and shared the view on deepening consultation on ensuring deterrence and security in the region. They also shared the view that they will continue to engage in close cooperation between Japan and the U.S. as well as among Japan, the U.S., and the Republic of Korea. Furthermore, they shared the view on calling upon North Korea to resolve the Japanese abductions issue immediately.
2. Regional Security Environment
The four ministers exchanged candid views regarding the security environment in the Indo-Pacific region, and expressed serious concern about, and strong opposition to, unilateral coercive attempts to alter the status quo in the East China Sea (ECS) and South China Sea (SCS).
They reaffirmed their determination to work together to safeguard the peace and stability of the ECS, and reconfirmed that Article V of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands and that both nations oppose any unilateral action that seeks to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands.
3. Strengthening Bilateral Security and Defense Cooperation
1. They highlighted the importance of cooperation for cross-domain operations. They confirmed that they will deepen cooperation on space capabilities, and shared the view on promoting cooperation for enhancing space situational awareness (SSA) capabilities through Japan’s development of a Deep Space Radar and hosting of U.S.-provided SSA payloads on Japan’s Quasi Zenith Satellite System. In addition, they shared the view on enhancing cooperation on cyber issues. They affirmed that international law applies in cyberspace and that a cyber attack could, in certain circumstances, constitute an armed attack for the purposes of Article V of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.
2. They affirmed the importance of information security, and shared the view on the need for greater supply chain security, noting threats to the defense industrial base, national networks, and critical infrastructure required for mission assurance.
3. In order to improve Japan-U.S. Alliance readiness, they shared the view on further deepening operational cooperation, such as mutual asset protection, logistical support, and joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance operations.
4. U.S. Forces in Japan
The four ministers shared the view that they will steadily implement the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, from the perspective of mitigating the impact on local communities including Okinawa, while maintaining the deterrence of the Japan-U.S. Alliance.
In particular, the four ministers welcomed the significant progress on the construction of the Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF) and reaffirmed that the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma to Henoko is the only solution that avoids its continued use. Defense Minister Iwaya requested the U.S. side to minimize the impact of the operation of U.S. forces on local communities, including noise of transient aircraft. The two ministers also requested the U.S. side to prevent incidents and accidents.
Minister Iwaya meets with Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan
Minister Iwaya held a meeting with U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan.
1. General statement
Both sides welcomed the success of Japan-U.S. “2+2” Meeting and agreed to cooperate to strengthen Japan-U.S. Alliance through close cooperation within the defense agencies.
2. North Korea
Both sides confirmed the importance of ensuring full implementation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions for a complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges. Both sides agreed that Japan and the U.S. will continue working together with partner countries to counter North Korea’s illicit “ship-to-ship” transfers of refined petroleum products and other materials. Furthermore, both sides confirmed that deterrence through Japan-U.S. Alliance and U.S.- Republic of Korea (ROK) Alliance is essential in maintaining the security of the region, and agreed that both countries will steadily implement Japan-U.S. bilateral exercises.
3. Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation
Both sides agreed to promote Japan-U.S. cooperation for cross-domain operations and confirmed to even make progress in Japan-U.S. cooperation in space, cyberspace and electromagnetic spectrum.
Both sides confirmed to make continued effort in streamlining FMS process, and agreed to enhance cooperation in defense equipment and technology as well as promoting Japan-U.S. joint development and researches.
4. The U.S. Forces in Japan
Both sides confirmed to work closely together for the steady implementation of the U.S. forces realignment initiatives.
Japan-Philippines Defense Ministerial Meeting
On April 17th, Minister Iwaya held a Japan-Philippines Defense Ministerial Meeting with Delfin Negrillo Lorenzana, Secretary of National Defense of Republic of the Philippines.
1. Opening Remarks
Minister Iwaya expressed his delight to meet with Secretary Lorenzana again after ADMM-Plus and stated that Japan-Philippines defense cooperation is steadily progressing in a wide range of fields such as port calls by ships and aircraft joint exercises, capacity building support, and defense equipment and technical cooperation. In response, Secretary Lorenzana expressed his congratulations on the decision of the new era and stated that he would like to further promote cooperation between the two countries.
2. Defense Policy
Minister Iwaya explained the new guidelines that Japan formulated at the end of last year and stated that he would like to further deepen the Japan-Philippines cooperative relationship based on that policy. In addition, Minister Iwaya explained the vision of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” and stated that he would like to promote cooperation between the two countries based on that concept. Secretary Lorenzana also gave an explanation of the Philippines’ national defense policy.
3. Japan-Philippines Defense Cooperation
(1) Minister Iwaya stated that he would like to promote 1. a port call to the Philippines around July by an “Izumo” class helicopter destroyer, 2. advancement of trilateral cooperation among Japan, the U.S., and the Philippines, including the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) participation in the U.S.-Philippines joint training exercises such as “Kamandag”, 3. strengthening capacity building support for all types of land, sea, and air forces, 4. promotion of multilateral cooperation based on the “Vientiane Vision,” which is Japan's defense cooperation initiative with ASEAN, and 5. cooperation such as implementing policy talks. Secretary Lorenzana welcomed such measures.
(2) The Minister and Secretary agreed to further strengthen defense cooperation in a wide range of fields, including these cooperative measures.
4. Defense Equipment and Technical Cooperation
(1) Minister Iwaya commented that the free transfer of parts, etc. for TC-90 patrol planes and UH-1H helicopters has been progressing, and in response Secretary Lorenzana noted that such cooperation contributes to improvements in the Philippines’ alert and monitoring capabilities.
(2) Additionally, the Minister and Secretary also agreed to further comprehensively advance defense equipment and technical cooperation through the implementation of regular administrative level consultations and the Public-Private Defense Industry Forum.
5. Regional Situations
With regards to North Korea, Minister Iwaya emphasized the importance of implementing the UNSC’s resolutions, and Secretary Lorenzana stated that he will continue to firmly implement them. The Minister and Secretary also exchanged views on regional affairs, including those of the South China Sea.