Joint Press Statement of the Ministry of Defense of Japan and the Ministry of Defense of the Kingdom of Spain on Defense Cooperation

January 15, 2018
Ministry of Defense

  1. Minister of Defense of Japan Itsunori Onodera and Minister of Defense of the Kingdom of Spain Maria Dolores de Cospedal held a bilateral meeting on 15th January 2018 in Tokyo. The Ministers recognized that 2018 marks the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Kingdom of Spain, and that it would mark a unique opportunity in further deepening their defense cooperation.
  2. The Ministers exchanged their views and ideas with the aim of further strengthening defense and security cooperation under the Memorandum on Defense Cooperation and Exchanges between the Ministry of Defense of Japan and the Ministry of Defense of the Kingdom of Spain signed in 2014. They expressed satisfaction on the continued deepening and diversification of bilateral defense cooperation since the signing of the Memorandum and decided to advance their defense cooperation based on the outcomes that have been achieved thus far. The Ministers have reviewed the various challenges in the international community, including those related to transnational terrorism.
    Minister de Cospedal showed her appreciation and acknowledged Japan's efforts in promoting international peace and security. In this vein, Minister de Cospedal expressed gratitude for the generosity and solidarity of Japan in supporting and contributing to the international community as well as the European Union in the fight against piracy off the Coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.
  3. The Ministers confirmed their commitment to raising their defense cooperation to the next level as follows:
    Working Level Exchanges: The Ministers welcomed that the two countries had conducted policy and military-to-military talks on security and defense matters successfully, and expressed their intention to move their defense policy dialogues even further, including holding of Vice-Ministerial meetings.
    Unit-to-unit Exchanges: The Ministers welcomed that the bilateral unit-level engagements had been successfully advancing. They welcomed that a joint training was conducted in the Gulf of Aden between Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)'s P-3Cs and Spanish Air Force's P-3Ms last year.
    Cooperation on Defense Equipment and Technology: The Ministers decided to promote exchange of information, including through future defense equipment and technology dialogue, to advance the cooperation on defense equipment and technology in areas of mutual interest.
    Education and Research Exchanges: The Ministers affirmed their contribution to the international peace cooperation activities including United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations. The Ministers welcomed that their educational exchanges are being successfully conducted. This includes Japan's sending of its Self-Defense Forces officers to Spain's Defense Research Programs for officials from Asia-Pacific, and Spain's sending of its military officers to the Peacekeeping Operations Contingent Commanders Course (PKOCCC) and United Nations Staff Officers Course (UNSOC) at the Japan Peacekeeping Training and Research Center.
    Exchange of Views on areas of Mutual Interest: The Ministers expressed their hope to seek opportunities to further exchange their perspectives on various areas including UN peacekeeping operations, in particular on their experiences gained from participation in various missions. The Ministers also expressed their intention to continue their exchange of views on other areas, such as the fight against Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED), Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA/DR), cyber defense, as well as gender issues.
    Cooperation in the Multilateral Context: The Ministers decided to advance their cooperation in the multilateral frameworks, including NATO and EU, of which Spain is a key member. In this regard, Minister de Cospedal welcomed Japan's intention to enhance its partnership with NATO, and the Ministers confirmed that they would cooperate to promote Japan's partnership with NATO on various occasions.
  4. The Ministers reaffirmed that a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law is an important pillar of the stability and prosperity of the international community. They recognized the importance of ensuring free and open sea lanes and promoting quality infrastructure with open, fair and sustainable access for enhanced regional connectivity. They confirmed that it is of mutual benefit to work together to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region. In this regard, Minister de Cospedal welcomed "Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy", and the Ministers decided to explore the possibility of tangible defense cooperation under this Strategy.
  5. On regional issues, the Ministers condemned, in the strongest terms, North Korea's continued development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in flagrant violation of relevant UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. The Ministers affirmed that meaningful dialogue cannot be expected unless North Korea shows sincere will and concrete actions for denuclearization and that it is important to apply maximum pressure on North Korea to urge it to take concrete actions towards abandoning its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, and realizing denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. To this end, the Ministers expressed their support to every effort of the international community to fully implement relevant UNSC resolutions, including resolution 2397 adopted unanimously on 22nd December 2017. The Ministers also strongly urged North Korea to end its human rights violations and resolve the abductions issue immediately.
  6. The Ministers expressed their concerns regarding the situation in the East and South China Seas and strongly opposed to any unilateral actions that alter the status quo and could increase tensions, including the militarization of disputed features in the region. They also supported the early conclusion of negotiations to establish an effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. The Ministers expressed their support for the peaceful resolution of differences in the region, using all means available by international law, without resort to the use or threat of use of force and according to relevant international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  7. The Ministers shared the view that they would continue the political and strategic dialogue at ministerial level. Therefore, Minister de Cospedal has extended a formal invitation to Minister Onodera to hold a meeting in Madrid in 2019, and they affirmed that they would take advantage of international security fora such as Shangri-La Dialogue to hold bilateral talks.

The Ministers instructed their respective officials to closely follow up the results of today's meeting to keep momentum for their defense cooperation.