Sixth Japan-France Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting
On January 20, Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Mr. KISHI Nobuo, Minister of Defense, held the Sixth Japan-France Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting (“2+2”) via videoconference with H.E. Mr. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, and H.E. Ms. Florence Parly, Minister for Armed Forces of the French Republic. The meeting lasted for approximately one hour 45 minutes from 9:30 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. After the meeting, a Joint Statement (PDF) was issued. The overview of the meeting is as follows.
1. General remarks
- (1) The four Ministers reaffirmed the importance of the “Exceptional Partnership” between Japan and France in the face of the increasingly severe and uncertain security environment surrounding the two countries, and welcomed the significant strengthening of their security and defense cooperation in recent years.
- (2) The four Ministers confirmed that they would further strengthen bilateral security and defense cooperation. In addition, the four Ministers shared the view on raising cooperation in the Indo-Pacific to a higher level and further promoting cooperation to address regional situations and challenges facing the international community.
2. Security and defense cooperation
- (1) The four Ministers shared the view on continuing to promote joint training and exercises as well as defense equipment and technology cooperation between Japan and France, reflecting on their joint training during the port call in Japan by the French training fleet “Jeanne d’Arc” last year and the participation of French vessels in response to the ship-to-ship transfers by North Korea-related vessels.
- (2) With regard to economic security, the four Ministers confirmed the importance of enhancing the resilience of their respective supply chains, and shared the view to further strengthen their cooperation in recognizing and sharing information on economic security risks.
- (3) Regarding cyber and critical and emerging technologies, the four Ministers reaffirmed their intention to cooperate in various multilateral fora and collaborate in responding to cyber attacks. The four Ministers confirmed principles such as openness and diversity as well as the importance of information sharing in ensuring the safety and reliability of information and communications infrastructure, including 5G. In addition, the four Ministers shared the view that Japan and France would work closely in addressing safety and security issues in outer space.
3. Indo-Pacific cooperation
- (1) The four Ministers appreciated the deepening of concrete cooperation including support for the PKO training center in Djibouti, toward the realization of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”, through such frameworks as the Japan-France Comprehensive Maritime Dialogue and the Japan-France Working Group on the Indo-Pacific, , and confirmed that they would encourage cooperation.
- (2) Japan appreciated France’s significant contribution to the formulation of the Joint Communication on the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, while France appreciated Japan’s input to the EU regarding the Indo-Pacific. The four Ministers, taking into account that France holds the Presidency of the EU Council in the first half of 2022, confirmed that Japan and France would work more closely within the EU framework to further strengthen involvement of the EU, including France, in the Indo-Pacific. Japan welcomed NATO’s growing interest in the Indo-Pacific.
- (3) The four Ministers reaffirmed their support for the centrality and unity of ASEAN and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), and confirmed the importance of advancing substantive cooperation in line with the AOIP.
- (4) The four Ministers exchanged views on the cooperation in support for Tonga.
4. Regional affairs
- (1) The four Ministers shared serious concerns about the situation in the East and South China Seas, and shared the view to strongly oppose attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force. In addition, the four Ministers affirmed the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and shared the view to encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues. The four Ministers also shared serious concerns about the humanitarian situations in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
- (2) The four Ministers expressed strong concerns over North Korea’s advancing nuclear and missile development activities, including the recent series of ballistic missile launches. The four Ministers reaffirmed that the full implementation of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions is essential for North Korea’s dismantlement of all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges in a complete, verifiable, and irreversible manner. Furthermore, Minister Hayashi requested continued understanding and cooperation for the immediate resolution of the abductions issue.
- (3) The four Ministers exchanged views on the situation in Ukraine and reaffirmed their full respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
- (4) In addition, the four Ministers exchanged views on the situation in Iran, and expressed expectations that the countries concerned will soon mutually return to compliance with their commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The four Ministers also discussed the situations in Afghanistan and Africa.
5. Disarmament and non-proliferation
The four Ministers shared the view on continuing to work closely toward a successful 10th NPT Review Conference.
- First Japan-France Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting, January 9, 2014, Paris
- Second Japan-France Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting, March 13, 2015, Tokyo
- Third Japan-France Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting, January 6, 2017, Paris
- Fourth Japan-France Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting, January 26, 2018, Tokyo
- Fifth Japan-France Foreign and Defense Ministers’ Meeting, January 11, 2019, Brest