Joint press point

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

  • 31 Jan. 2023 -
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  • Last updated: 31 Jan. 2023 11:36

(As delivered)

Prime Minister Kishida, Thank you for the warm welcome. It is a great honour to be with you in Tokyo today.

No NATO partner is closer or more capable than Japan. Our cooperation is rooted in our shared values, and our shared vision – of a free, peaceful and prosperous world. We meet at a critical moment for NATO, and for Japan.

Beijing and Moscow are leading an authoritarian pushback against the international rules-based order. The Indo-Pacific faces growing challenges, from China’s coercive behaviour to provocations by North Korea.

And in Europe, Russia continues to wage its brutal war of aggression against Ukraine. This war is not just a European crisis, but a challenge to the world order.

We agree that transatlantic and Indo-Pacific security is deeply interconnected. What happens in this region matters to NATO. And what happens in Europe matters to you.

If President Putin wins in Ukraine, this would send a message that authoritarian regimes can achieve their goals through brute force. This is dangerous.  Beijing is watching closely. And learning lessons that may influence its future decisions.

What is happening in Europe today could happen in East Asia tomorrow. So we must remain united and firm. Standing together for freedom and democracy.

I strongly welcome Japan’s strict sanctions against Russia, and your significant support for Ukraine. Earlier today, I visited Iruma Air Base, and saw for myself the Japanese cargo planes transporting life-saving aid to the Ukrainian people. Japan also leads diplomatically, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and by holding the presidency of the G7 this year.

Prime Minister, we spoke today about your new National Security Strategy and National Defence Strategy. I strongly welcome these strategies and that Japan is raising its level of ambition. Including with new capabilities. And your plan to reach the NATO benchmark of investing 2% of GDP in defence in 2027.

This will make your armed forces among the best funded in the whole world. It will bolster regional security.
And help realise Japan’s vision for a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”.

Your strategy recognises that China's behaviour is "a matter of serious concern". NATO agrees. China is substantially building up its military forces, including nuclear weapons. Bullying its neighbours, and threatening Taiwan. Trying to control critical infrastructure. And spreading disinformation about NATO and the war in Ukraine. 

China is not our adversary, but we must understand the scale of the challenge. And work together to address it. 

Prime Minister, we also share deep concern over North Korea’s provocative behaviour, including its nuclear activity and ballistic missile tests. We continue to monitor the situation closely. And call on Pyongyang to comply fully with international law.

North Korea has also delivered rockets and missiles to the Russian Wagner group for use against Ukraine.
Demonstrating once again how the security of the Euro-Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific is interconnected.

In recent years, NATO and Japan have taken our partnership to the next level. Including on cyber defence. We share information and expertise. Japan participates in the NATO Centre of Excellence on cyber security in Tallinn.

And Japanese cyber experts recently trained with NATO Allies in Cyber Coalition, the world’s largest cyber defence exercise.

We also cooperate on maritime security. Last summer, NATO and Japanese vessels exercised together in the Mediterranean.  And Japanese liaison staff work at NATO’s Maritime Command in the United Kingdom.

The joint statement we agreed today sets out our plan to continue strengthening our cooperation. In a more dangerous world, no country can afford to stand alone.

So NATO deeply values Japan’s contributions to international peace. And Japan will always have a strong partner and friend in NATO. So, Prime Minister Kishida, thank you again for your warm welcome.