The Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Yasuo Fukuda, and the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer met in Tokyo on 13 December 2007.
During the meeting Prime Minister Fukuda and Secretary General de Hoop Scheffer reaffirmed that Japan and NATO share common values, as well as a mutual sense of responsibility towards global security challenges. The Prime Minister and the Secretary General also reiterated their determination to continue cooperation in meeting global security challenges.
They recognised that Japan has in recent years enhanced activities in the area of international peace and stability, and that NATO has undertaken an indispensable role in security assistance and stabilisation in different areas of operation beyond the Euro-Atlantic area.
Stressing the importance for the international community to work in unity and solidarity for global stability and prosperity, they confirmed that Japan and NATO, as partners in these endeavors, will seek utmost synergy in utilising their respective resources and capabilities both in the fight against terrorism as well as in the stabilisation and reconstruction of Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Fukuda expressed his deep respect for the sustained efforts carried out by NATO and partner countries to fulfil the UN mandate of the International Security Assistance Force in support of a stable Afghanistan.
Acknowledging that the long-standing Japan-NATO relations have entered a new phase, the Prime Minister and the Secretary General welcomed with satisfaction a range of achievements in our cooperation throughout this year. These achievements include:
The Prime Minister briefed the Secretary General on ongoing efforts towards an early resumption of the refuelling activities of the Japanese Self-Defence Force in the Indian Ocean. The Secretary General praised the valuable Japanese support to vessels from NATO member countries as well as the Japanese assistance for the reconstruction of Afghanistan especially in the context of assistance to humanitarian projects linked to NATO PRTs. The Prime Minister also stated that Japan intends to strenuously strive for a strengthening of the weapons stockpile management by the Afghan Government in cooperation with NATO, with a view to ensuring the success of Japan-led DDR and DIAG, and thereby contributing to the stability in Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Fukuda and Secretary General de Hoop Scheffer decided to further develop the Japan-NATO cooperation through the further enhancement of policy dialogues and sharing of expertise in areas such as peace building, reconstruction assistance and disaster relief. They resolved to examine ways for enhancing the sharing of expertise between Japan and NATO to consolidate the firm foundation of their cooperation. They also decided to promote defence exchanges, including the participation from the Japanese Self-Defence Forces in courses at the NATO Defence College in Rome.
Finally, they shared the view that the visit of Secretary General to Japan lends a new impetus to the further development of the Japan-NATO partnership, and confirmed their willingness to follow up this successful outcome through various occasions, such as the 8th Japan-NATO High-level Consultations scheduled for next March.
During his visit to Japan as a guest of the Japanese Foreign Minister, Mr. de Hoop Scheffer also had meetings with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Masahiko Koumura, and the Minister of Defence, Mr. Shigeru Ishiba.