North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

April 5, 2023
A picture of a meeting room which the NATO Ministers' meeting (NATO Partner Session) is held in the NATO headquarters

On April 5, commencing at 11:20 a.m. (local time; same day, 6:20 p.m. JST) for approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes, Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, attended the Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Belgium. The overview of the meeting is as follows.

  1. Minister Hayashi attended NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs at the invitation from NATO, following his attendance last year for the first time as Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan. Foreign Minister Hayashi participated in the NATO Partner Session, which was attended by the foreign ministers from 31 NATO member countries, official invitee (Sweden) and invited partner countries (Japan, Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, and the EU). They held discussions on issues such as the international security environment and Japan-NATO cooperation.
  2. The outline of the speech by Minister Hayashi at the meeting is as follows.
  • (1) First of all, Japan supports yesterday’s accession of Finland to NATO.
  • (2) During last year’s meeting, I underlined that the security of Europe and that of the IndoPacific region cannot be discussed separately, and further cooperation among like-minded countries is required. I am pleased that this recognition has been widely shared among NATO Member States and partner countries throughout the year.
  • (3) Secretary-General Stoltenberg visited Japan this January. On this occasion, we issued a joint statement, and expressed our strong resolve to elevate Japan-NATO cooperation to further heights.
  • (4) Through “the Individually Tailored Partnership Programme (ITPP)”, which Japan and NATO are working to revise, Japan will significantly strengthen its cooperation with NATO in such new areas as cyberspace, outer space, disinformation, and critical and emerging technologies, in addition to traditional areas of cooperation.
  • (5) Japan-NATO cooperation is steadily progressing in various fields. In response to the recent earthquake in Türkiye and Syria, Japan's Self-Defense Forces participated in airlift operations for disaster relief supplies led by NATO for the first time in history. This was the first-ever joint operation with NATO in the field of disaster relief.
  • (6) Regarding support for Ukraine, Japan has also announced that Japan would contribute 30 million USD to NATO's CAP Trust Fund for assistance in the form of non-lethal equipment. I conveyed this to Ukrainian President Zelensky during my recent visit to Kiev.
  • (7) Unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force, such as Russia’s war against Ukraine, must not be tolerated anywhere in the world. It is important that NATO Member States and partner countries, including Japan, remain united in support for Ukraine. We must continue implementing strict sanctions against Russia in order to end its outrageous acts of aggression as quickly as possible and to deter similar attempts from occurring again anywhere in the world.
  • (8) Turning to the Indo-Pacific, unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force have been continued and intensified in the East and South China Seas.
    Furthermore, North Korea is escalating its provocations by repeatedly launching ballistic missiles, including ICBM-class ballistic missiles, some of which fell within Japan's EEZ, with a frequency and in a manner that are unprecedented.
  • (9) Japan formulated a new National Security Strategy in the midst of the most severe and complex security environment since the end of World WarII. This Strategy clearly states that Japan will fundamentally reinforce defense capabilities and strengthen cooperation with NATO and other like-minded countries.
  • (10) Prime Minister Kishida recently announced a new Plan for a “Free and Open IndoPacific (FOIP)”. PM Kishida clarified in his Plan that, Japan will expand cooperation for FOIP in order to lead the international community in the direction of cooperation rather than division and confrontation at this turning point in history.
  • (11) Japan cannot accomplish these efforts alone, and therefore welcomes the growing engagement of NATO and its Member States and partner countries in the Indo-Pacific.
  • (12) In its G7 Presidency role this year, Japan is determined to continue to lead efforts by the international community to maintain and strengthen the free and open international order based on the rule of law. I look forward to working with you all and other partners to promote various ongoing efforts.

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