Japan-Italy Defense Minister’s Telephone Conversation

May 20, 2020
Japan Ministry of Defense
in Japanese

On May 20, 2020, Minister KONO had a telephone conversation with Minister Guerini of Italy.

  1. At the outset of the meeting, Minister Kono expressed his condolences to the victims of COVID-19 in Italy, and Minister Guerini thanked Minister Kono in response. The two ministers exchanged views on issues such as the roles to be played by the defense authorities given the global spread of COVID-19. Minister Kono explained 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 Guerini also explained the recent activities and measures taken in Italy, where the Armed Forces have been heavily engaged since the beginning of the crisis in a wide range of activities, including bio-containment transportation, medical support to the public health care system, availability of field hospital and support for the control of the territory.
  2. The two Ministers also exchanged views on the regional security issues of common interest. In this context, Minister Kono expressed that Japan strongly opposes any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force and any activities that add to the tension and that the free and open maritime order based on the rule of law is important. Minister Guerini agreed and stated Italy’s commitment to the global security, including the fight against terrorism and international crime, and to the full application of the rule of law, with particular reference to the international law of the sea in the respective maritime areas of interest.
  3. Further, the two ministers exchanged views on defense cooperation and exchanges between Japan and Italy. Minister Kono pointed out the importance of further cooperation with other countries that share values and interests in order not to undermine the free and open international order that has been a cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the world. Moreover, both ministers, taking into consideration the implications of COVID-19, expressed the importance of both countries’ maintaining seamless defense posture. Minister Guerini highlighted the shared interest of Italy and Japan in fighting piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, where the respective Navies cooperate effectively for the safe and secure transit of merchant vessels in the area and , more broadly, for the respect of the international law of the sea. Moreover, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the first over-flight from Rome to Tokyo, and both Ministers welcomed the advancement of cooperation made between the two Air Forces and also pointed out the importance of continued and strengthened bilateral defense cooperation and exchanges to uphold and reinforce the Free and Open Indo-Pacific. The two Ministers acknowledged the prosperous bilateral cooperation, which has been carried forward so far, and they expressed the will to further expanding it including cooperation in the defense equipment and technology field.
  4. The two ministers agreed on the following three points bearing in mind the circumstances arisen by the spread of COVID-19;
  1. sharing information, knowledge and lessons learned about the measures taken by the defense authorities towards overcoming COVID-19 at the earliest stage;
  2. necessity of sharing views on challenges of the current circumstances and potential effects of the spread of COVID-19 on defense policy of each country; and
  3. promoting vigorously defense cooperation and exchanges to uphold and reinforce the Free and Open Indo-Pacific while maintaining communication between the defense authorities.