Defense Minister Kihara’s Participation in the 8th ASEAN-Japan Defence Ministers’ Informal Meeting

November 15, 2023

Ministry of Defense

(Provisional Translation)

in Japanese

On November 15, 2023, the 8th ASEAN-Japan Defence Ministers’ Informal Meeting was held in Indonesia. Minister of Defense Kihara attended the meeting virtually and State Minister of Defense Miyazawa attended in-person. A brief summary of the meeting is as below:

  1. On November 15, the 8th ASEAN-Japan Defence Ministers’ Informal Meeting was held in Jakarta, Indonesia, where ministers exchanged views towards further enhancement of the Japan-ASEAN defense cooperation.
  2. At the beginning of the meeting, H.E. Prabowo Subianto, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Indonesia as the Chairman stated that Japan is one of the most important countries for ASEAN, and expressed his appreciation for Japan’s proactive defense cooperation with ASEAN.
  3. Next, considering that this year marks the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, Minister Kihara delivered his remarks under the theme of the “Japan-ASEAN Defense Cooperation: History and Way Forward.” He stated the following in order to affirm Japan and ASEAN share the vision for the future of the region, and to advance Japan-ASEAN defense cooperation to a new level towards the realization of the shared vision.
  4. He pointed out that the international community is faced with unilateral changes to the status quo by force or coercion and such attempts, including those in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. He also pointed out economic coercion and increased influence through opaque and unfair development finance have intensified the severity and complexity in the security environment.
  5. Then, he affirmed that the “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific” and the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” shares fundamental principles such as openness, transparency, and a rules-based framework. He also emphasized that Japan and ASEAN share a vision for the future of the Indo-Pacific region based on the rule of law, in which we can enjoy peace, stability, and prosperity and that it is possible to unite each other’s efforts together to realize this shared vision.
  6. In order to realize the shared vision, Minister Kihara proposed the following four pillars for advancing the Japan-ASEAN cooperative relationship in the defense field to a new level:
    1. Japan-ASEAN to carry out efforts to create a security environment that does not allow any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion
    2. To continue and expand the Japan-ASEAN defense cooperation
    3. To pursue further friendship and opportunities between Japan and ASEAN defense officials
    4. To support defense cooperation between ASEAN, Japan, and the Pacific Island countries
  7. Under these four pillars, Japan proposed and announced specific initiatives including the followings: the holding of the first seminar between Japan and ASEAN on the rule of law and security in space domain; further support for confidence building and improvement of situational awareness in both maritime and air domains; support for improving security capabilities of friendly countries in both hardware like provision of equipment, and software such as technical assistance with the aim to synergize between the “Official Security Assistance (OSA)” efforts with the existing projects of the Ministry of Defense such as the transfer of defense equipment and technology as well as capacity building; support for cooperation between ASEAN, Japan and Pacific Island countries such as by utilizing the Ship Rider Cooperation Programs hosted by Japan; and the launch of new Japan-ASEAN capacity building programs on “Women, Peace and Security (WPS).“
  8. Minister Kihara also explained that the fundamental reinforcement of Japan’s defense capabilities will be conducted within the purview of international law, under an exclusively defense-oriented policy. He stated that Japan has no intention of becoming a military power that poses a threat to other countries, but aims to maintain an international order based on the rule of law. He expressed that Japan not only hopes for peace, but is committed to the realization of peace, as a peace-loving nation, and shared the aspiration to work together with ASEAN moving forward.
  9. Before closing, Minister Kihara presented to the participating countries these efforts for the realization of the shared vision as the “Japan-ASEAN Ministerial Initiative for Enhanced Defense Cooperation: JASMINE.”
  10. The Ministers of ASEAN member states congratulated the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, and appreciated Japan’s efforts under the framework of Japan-ASEAN and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus). At the same time, they welcomed the proposals from Japan at the meeting this time and expressed their expectations for Japan and ASEAN to continue to work closely together and play an even greater role towards peace and stability in the region.
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