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On January 10, Defense Minister Kitazawa visited Republic of Korea and had a ministerial meeting with ROK Minister of National Defense Kim Kwan-Jin.
Defense Minister and Minister of National Defense exchanged views on the security situation in the region, raising cases such as the sinking of the patrol vessel and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island. The two Ministers reaffirmed the close cooperation between Japan and ROK with the common recognition that provocative actions by North Korea such as the unveiling of its uranium enrichment facility and the Yeonpyeong Island shelling were unacceptable and threaten peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
The two Ministers also agreed that they would expect China to play a more constructive role in North Korea issues.
In addition, the two ministers agreed to hold regular meetings at the defense ministerial and vice-ministerial levels between Japan and ROK, and Minister Kitazawa extended an invitation to Minister Kim to visit Japan within this year, 2011.
The two ministers shared their view, highly appreciating that Japan–ROK defense cooperation and exchanges has been continuously developed in many diverse fields, and agreed to broaden increase and deepen the cooperation and exchanges with the spirit of working their way to a new era of defense cooperation.
The two ministers agreed, as a first step toward enhancing cooperation, on the exchange of views in the fields such as an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) between their defense ministries, aimed at providing mutual support of water, food, and fuel in activities such as the United Nations’ PKO, humanitarian support, disaster relief activities, and searchand-rescue training.
In addition to enhancing defense cooperation and exchanges between Japan and ROK, the two ministers also reaffirmed that it was important for enhancing defense cooperation and exchanges between Japan and ROK to share information, and agreed to develop the exchange of opinions between the two defense authorities on the contents of an agreement on information security.
Furthermore, the two ministers evaluated the progress of the Japan–ROK defense cooperation in recent international peace cooperation activities, such as UN PKO and anti-piracy operations off the Coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, and agreed that such cooperation should be further enhanced.
Minister Kitazawa also explained the concept of the “Dynamic Defense Force” in the newly formulated National Defense Program Guidelines, as well as the matter of international cooperation, in particular, on deepening of the cooperation with both ROK and Australia which are also allies of the U.S.
Defense Minister Kitazawa and U.S. Defense Secretary Gates had a ministerial meeting at the Ministry of Defense on January 13.
Minister Kitazawa explained that his meeting with ROK Minister of National Defense Kim Kwan-jin during his visit to the Republic of Korea. Minister Kitazawa stated that enhancing Japan-ROK and Japan–U.S.–ROK defense cooperation was important to secure stability in the Korean Peninsula in light of issues on the peninsula such as shelling of Yeonoyeng Island.
Secretary Gates explained his visit to China, and with regard to North Korea, stated that it was necessary for North Korea to hold serious negotiations without taking further provocative action.
In addition, Minister Kitazawa said that it was important for the whole international community to encourage China to act in a cooperative manner as a responsible power in the international community.
Regarding the deepening of the Japan–U.S. Alliance, Minister Kitazawa and the Secretary Gates agreed to accelerate consultation to review the common strategic objectives and to show the basic concept on the future direction of the Japan–U.S. defense cooperation during the Prime Minister’ s visit to the U.S.
On the Host Nation Support (HNS) for the cost sharing for the stationing of US forces in Japan, on Host Nation Support (HNS) the Defense Minister welcomed the conclusion of an agreement for its comprehensive review.
Regarding the realignment of US forces in Japan, Minister Kitazawa explained the government’ s efforts to explain to Okinawa the issues related to the relocation of the Futenma Air Station, and measures to reduce burden on the local communities. Secretary Gates expressed his understanding on the complexity of the internal situation in Japan, and concurred that the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps and return of facilities to Okinawa by the implementation of the roadmap, would bring significant merits to the people of Okinawa.
On the training relocation of aircraft, Minister Kitazawa said that MOD would like to promote the current negotiations to add Guam as a relocation site, expanding the scale of training relocation.
Minister Kitazawa also explained the way ahead of SM-3 Block II A described in the new Mid-Term Defense Program. Minister stated that the transition to the production and deployment phase would be decided based on the development progress in the future, but Japan and U.S. would consider the issues such as transfer of SM-3 Block II A to a third country, and that he hoped to come to a conclusion within this year. Secretary Gates stated that transfer to a third country would be a meaningful issue.