Japan-Tonga Defense Minister’s Telephone Conversation
August 12, 2020
Japan Ministry of Defense
On August 12, 2020, Minister KONO had a telephone conversation with Lord Minister Ma’afu of the Kingdom of Tonga.
- 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’ activities on the cruise ship Diamond Princess, activities to take measures at the airport and to prevent community spread infection, infection-preventative measures undertaken in their operation which resulted in having no deployed member infected with the virus, and analysis by the SDF Central Hospital by using a presentation document (see attached). Lord Minister Ma’afu also explained the recent activities and measures taken in Tonga.
- The two Ministers agreed that information and data on the measures against COVID-19 are the common resources of humanity and therefore should be shared with due transparency among the international community. Minister Kono also 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.
- Further, the two Ministers celebrated the 50th anniversary of Japan and Tonga’s establishment of diplomatic relationship and exchanged views on defense cooperation and exchanges between Japan and Tonga. Moreover, Minister Kono, taking into consideration the implications of COVID-19, expressed the importance of both countries’ maintaining seamless defense posture and of bilateral defense cooperation and exchanges to uphold and reinforce the Free and Open Indo-Pacific. The two Ministers agreed that as soon as the COVID-19 outbreak comes to an end, it is necessary to hold the Japan Pacific Islands Defense Dialogue (JPIDD), which has been postponed as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19.
- The two Ministers agreed on the following three points bearing in mind the circumstances arisen by the spread of COVID-19;
- sharing information, knowledge and lessons learned about the measures taken by the defense authorities towards overcoming COVID-19 at the earliest stage;
- necessity of sharing threat recognition based on the current circumstances and potential effects of the spread of COVID-19 on defense policy of each country; and
- promoting vigorously defense cooperation and exchanges to uphold and reinforce the Free and Open Indo-Pacific while maintaining communication between the defense authorities.