Secretary General in Tokyo: No NATO partner is closer or more capable than Japan
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo on Tuesday (31 January 2023) for talks on shared security challenges and NATO’s deepening partnership with Japan. “No NATO partner is closer or more capable than Japan,” said the Secretary General.
Acknowledging that transatlantic and Indo-Pacific security are deeply interconnected, the two leaders agreed a joint statement setting out a shared ambition to strengthen NATO-Japan cooperation even further.
The Secretary General and Prime Minister Kishida discussed growing challenges, ranging from China’s coercive behaviour to military provocations by North Korea. They agreed that Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine is not just a European crisis, but a challenge to the international order. Mr Stoltenberg warned that: “Beijing is watching closely, and learning lessons that may influence its future decisions.” He underlined the importance of remaining united and firm to protect freedom and democracy from authoritarian regimes’ pushback against the international rules-based order.
Speaking about Japan’s significant support for Ukraine, the Secretary General welcomed Japan’s strict sanctions against Russia, as well as its humanitarian support to the Ukrainian people. He also commended Japan on its new National Security Strategy and National Defence Strategy, which set out a higher level of ambition, including new capabilities and increased defence spending.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Secretary General visited Iruma Air Base and met with personnel of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces. “I’ve been very impressed by the different capabilities that have been presented to me,” he said. “And in particular I’d like to thank you for the contributions you have made when it comes to providing support to Ukraine” he added, noting that cargo planes based at Iruma have been transporting vital aid for the Ukrainian people.
On Wednesday, the Secretary General will meet with other senior officials, including Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi. He will also deliver a speech to students at Keio University.