Relations with Japan

  • Last updated: 12 Sep. 2018 12:49

NATO and Japan are currently strengthening relations to address shared security challenges. Stabilising Afghanistan has been a key focus of cooperation over the past decade.

Joint press point by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe

  • NATO and Japan have been engaged in dialogue and cooperation since initial contacts in the early 1990s. Japan is one of a range of countries beyond the Euro-Atlantic area – often referred to as “partners across the globe” – with which NATO is developing relations.
  • NATO and Japan signalled their commitment to strengthening cooperation in a joint political declaration signed in April 2013.
  • Since 2014, work is being taken forward through an Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme.
  • Practical cooperation is being developed in a wide range of areas, including cyber defence, maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, non-proliferation, defence science and technology, and women, peace and security.

Key areas of cooperation

Japan’s cooperation with NATO is mutually beneficial and includes:

Building capabilities and interoperability

  • Since 2014 under the Partnership Interoperability Initiative, Japan participates in the Interoperability Platform that brings Allies together with 24 partners.
  • Japan is particularly interested in training and developing interoperability in the area of maritime security. Its Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force training squadron has trained with NATO ships, for example, off the coast of Spain and, most recently, in the Baltic Sea. Japan has designated a liaison officer to NATO’s Maritime Command.

Support for NATO-led operations and missions

  • Japan has provided much-valued support for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and for wider reconstruction and development efforts in Afghanistan. It helped to mobilise international support for Afghanistan by organising the Tokyo Conference in July 2012 and itself pledging US$5 billion to this end over a five-year period (2009-2013). Earlier, Japan supported efforts to disarm, demobilise and reintegrate former combatants, and to reintegrate insurgents under the Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program. It also generously supports various initiatives including human security projects at grass roots level in several regions of Afghanistan; the United Nations’ Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan, mainly to help finance the salaries and training of Afghan police; and the Afghan National Army Trust Fund.
  • In the 1990s, Japan played a role in stabilising the Balkans, where NATO has led several peace-support operations since the mid-1990s.  As a major donor nation, it contributed to the successful recovery of the Balkans region and its reintegration into the European mainstream.

Wider cooperation

  • Japan has made generous contributions to Trust Fund projects in various partner countries which aimed to enhance stockpile management and physical security of ammunitions in Afghanistan and Tajikistan; destroy dangerous stocks of pesticides in Moldova; and clear an ammunition depot in Georgia as well as contaminated land in Azerbaijan. Most recently, Japan contributed to NATO’s Medical Rehabilitation Trust Fund for Ukraine.
  • Japan’s participation in the Science for Peace and Security Programme has included developing technologies to enhance border and port security; infrared detection; and resilience to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents.
  • Reflecting Japan’s interest in developing cooperation in cyber defence, it has contributed an expert to work at the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.
  • Japan seeks to support the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda and contributes an officer to work in the office of the Secretary General’s Special Representative for WPS.