On February 5th, Minister of Defense Iwaya held a Japan-Finland Defense Ministerial Meeting with Dr. Jussi Niinisto, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Finland. Prior to the meeting, the two Ministers signed the “Memorandum on Japan-Finland Defense Cooperation and Exchange.”
1 Opening Remarks
Minister Iwaya welcomed Minister Niinisto, and discussed the current security environment surrounding both countries and future direction of bilateral exchanges. In light of the signing of the memorandum, he stated this cemented the will of the two countries to further develop their relationship in the future.
In response, Minister Niinisto expressed his appreciation toward warm hospitality, welcome of the signing of the memorandum and delivered his intention to discuss bilateral defense cooperation.
2 Defense Policy
Minister Iwaya explained Japan’s defense policy including National Defense Program Guideline (NDPG) approved by the Cabinet in December 2018 and its vision for “A Free and Open Indo-Pacific”, and requested Finland’s cooperation in pursuit of these policies.
Minister Niinisto gave an overview of Finland’s national defense policy.
3 Regional Situations
The Ministers engaged in an exchange of opinions on regional situations including that of North Korea.
Minister Iwaya called for the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of all North Korean weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. He underlined the importance of respecting the will of the international community by effectively enforcing sanctions placed on North Korea including a response to illegal ship-to-ship transfers in accordance with the resolution of the United Nations Security Council. Minister Iwaya stated that he would like Finland to cooperate in these efforts.
4 Japan-Finland Defense Cooperation and Exchange
Minister Iwaya touched upon the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) training squadron’s visit to the Port of Helsinki and the visit of Admiral Kawano, the Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff to Finland last year. Based on those defense exchanges and the memorandum, the Ministers agreed to deepen defense cooperation in various fields.