May 5, 2022
Ministry of Defense
On May 4, Defense Minister Kishi and Defense Secretary Austin held a meeting from 11:10 (local time) for 75 minutes, including a tête-à-tête meeting, at the U.S. Department of Defense. The summary is as follows.
- Regional affairs
The Ministers severely condemned Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, stating that it is a unilateral change to the status quo by force that poses serious challenge to the international order and such actions are absolutely unacceptable. The Ministers confirmed that Japan and the United States would continue to work together to support Ukraine as much as possible. Secretary Austin expressed his appreciation to Japan’s leadership in supporting Ukraine. Minister Kishi stated his vision to strengthen the commitment to security in Europe from the viewpoint that security of the Indo-Pacific region and Europe cannot be regarded separately.
The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and renewed their determination to promote the norms, values, and institutions that underpin the rules-based international order.
The Ministers discussed the recent behaviors of China in the Indo-Pacific region such as coercive actions in the East and South China Seas. The Ministers determined that any change to the status quo by force in the Indo-Pacific region cannot be condoned, and confirmed that both countries would continue to strengthen cooperation to deter and, if necessary, respond to such actions.
Secretary Austin affirmed that the Senkaku Islands are under the administration of Japan and that Article V of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands. Secretary also expressed his opposition to any unilateral attempts to undermine the administration of Japan. The Ministers also reiterated the importance of peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait.
The Ministers agreed on the view that North Korea’s repeated missile launches and nuclear development, etc. are a serious threat against peace and stability of the region and the international community and that such actions cannot be tolerated. The Ministers also confirmed to advance close bilateral and trilateral cooperation among Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea in response to North Korea’s provocations.
Furthermore, the Ministers concurred to strengthen defense cooperation with partner countries in the region and beyond such as Australia, India, Southeast Asian and Pacific Island nations, and European nations.
- Bilateral defense cooperation
The Ministers agreed that Japan and the United States would promptly materialize various measures to enhance the Alliance capabilities to deter and respond as confirmed at the “2+2” in January 2022 under the increasingly severe security environment.
Minister Kishi expressed his determination to fundamentally reinforce Japan’s defense capabilities through formulating the National Security Strategy (NSS), etc. Secretary Austin welcomed the statement and the Ministers confirmed that Japan and the United States would align their respective strategies through close consultations.
Secretary Austin stated that the U.S. commitment to providing the extended deterrence including nuclear capabilities to Japan remains unwavering. Minister Kishi stated that bilateral efforts at various levels to ensure nuclear deterrence remains credible and resilient is more important than ever under the current international security situation, and shared the recognition with Secretary Austin.
The Ministers concurred on the importance of information security and cyber security which is the basis for Japan-U.S. defense cooperation, and agreed to work together to strengthen them.
The Ministers concurred to further deepen cooperation in the area of equipment and technology including cooperation in counter-hypersonic technology.
- Realignment of U.S. forces/ U.S. Forces in Japan
The Ministers welcomed the realignment initiatives of the U.S. Forces in Japan so far including the relocation of Marin Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma to Henoko-saki and facility development of Mageshima and agreed that Japan and the United States would continue to closely work together for steady progress.
The Ministers shared the importance of continuing to closely work together and further expedite the cooperation to mitigate impact on Okinawa this year, which marks the 50th anniversary of Okinawa’s reversion to Japan.