Visit to Maritime Operation Center by Director General for Defense Policy, Spanish Ministry of Defense.

On April 25, Director General for Defense Policy, Spanish Ministry of Defense LTGEN Fernando LOPEZ DEL POZO visited Commander in Chief of Self Defense Fleet, Vice Admiral SAITO Akira.
Spain is an important strategic partner that shares fundamental values and same interest in maritime security with Japan. Japan and Spanish Navy have been carried out joint exercises mainly in the Gulf of Aden to improve the capabilities for anti-piracy and to strengthen cooperation. Most recently, JS SUZUTUKI conducted a JAPAN-SPAIN goodwill exercise with Spanish Navy Frigate SANTA MARIA in the Gulf of Aden on 2022 December.
In the conversation, they shared that although the number of acts of piracy occurring in the waters off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden has currently hovered at a low level, due to the efforts of the international community, could be easily reversed if the international community reduces its counter piracy efforts, the assumed root causes of piracy such as unstable security and poverty in Somalia have still remained unsolved, and the international community must continue to work together to counter piracy. In addition, they shared serious concerns over attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force, and concurred to eagerly promote the defense cooperation and exchanges in order to realize a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” in a multilateral framework including EU, NATO, etc.
The Self-Defense Fleet maintains responsiveness, engages in the defense of Japan, and contributes to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region in cooperation with allied and like-minded navies to uphold and reinforce a free and open international order based on the rule of law.