Japan-Singapore Defense Minister’s Telephone Conversation

May 19, 2020
Japan Ministry of Defense
in Japanese

On May 19, 2020, Minister KONO had a telephone conversation with Minister for Defence of the Republic of Singapore, Dr Ng Eng Hen.

  1. The two ministers exchanged views on issues such as the roles of the defense establishments in managing COVID-19 and how countries can work together to contain the global spread of the pandemic. Minister Kono explained about the Japan Self-Defense Forces’ (JSDF) activities on the cruise ship Diamond Princess and analysis by the SDF Central Hospital by using a presentation document (see attached). Minister Kono also explained the ongoing JSDF’s activities such as: measures at the airport; measures to prevent infection within the city; and infection-preventative measures undertaken in their operation which resulted in having no deployed member infected so far with the virus. Minister Ng also shared with Minister Kono the measures Singapore took to manage the COVID-19 situation and the contributions by the Singapore Ministry of Defence and Singapore Armed Forces towards the national efforts.
  2. Furthermore, the two ministers also exchanged views on the current regional security issues and shared understanding that free and open maritime order based on the rule of law is important. Minister Kono also expressed that Japan strongly opposes attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force and any activities that add to the tension.
  3. Further, the two ministers exchanged views on defense cooperation and exchanges between Japan and Singapore. Minister Kono pointed out the importance of continuing cooperation with other countries that share values and interests from the perspective of maintaining and strengthening the free and open international order that has been a cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the world. Moreover, Minister Kono, taking into consideration the implications of COVID-19, expressed the importance of maintaining seamless defense posture, continuing communications and exchanges between both establishments and strengthening bilateral defense cooperation to continue pursuing synergies between the “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific” issued by ASEAN in June last year and Japan’s concept of the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”.
  4. In this context, Minister Kono said that the MOD will continue to deliver MOD’s views on the regional security challenges through continuously engaging in and speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue while expressing his regret for the cancellation of the dialogue. Minister Ng thanked Minister Kono for his strong and consistent support for multilateral events hosted by Singapore, and welcomed Japan’s participation in the next Shangri-La Dialogue.
  5. The two ministers agreed on the following three points bearing in mind the circumstances arisen by the spread of COVID-19;
  1. mutual sharing of information, knowledge and lessons learned on the measures taken by the defense establishments to overcome COVID-19 at the earliest stage;
  2. conducting open dialogue on the challenges to regional security, including the potential impact of COVID-19 on the defense policies of both countries; and
  3. strengthening defense cooperation and exchanges between both countries in support of an open and inclusive regional security architecture, and maintaining communication between the defense establishments.