by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at Iruma Air Base - Sayama, Japan

  • 31 Jan. 2023 -
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  • Last updated 31 Jan. 2023 16:26

(As delivered)

Deputy Minister, officers, men and women in uniform,

First of all let me say how grateful I am to be able to start my visit to Japan here at Iruma Air Force Base. And also let me thank you for your service, for your dedication, and for what you do every day to keep us all safe. 

I’ve been very impressed by the different capabilities that have been presented to me. I have learned more about the advanced defence industry you have in Japan and all the different capabilities you have been able to provide, which are important for all of us. 

And in particular I’d like to thank you for the contributions you have made when it comes to providing support to Ukraine. Because I know that the cargo plane behind me has been used to transport vital support for Ukraine. And this shows how important the support from Japan to Ukraine has been and still is, and we are extremely grateful that support. 

The war in Ukraine also demonstrates that our security is closely interconnected. If President Putin wins in Ukraine, it will be a tragedy for the Ukrainians, but it will also send a very dangerous message to authoritarian leaders all over the world. Because then the message will be that when they use military force, they can achieve their goals. 

So the war in Ukraine matters for all of us, and therefore we’re very grateful for the support that Japan is providing, using also the planes and cargo capabilities that are based at this air base. So thank you so much. 

Let me also express my strong support to continue to strengthen the partnership between Japan and NATO. We live in a more dangerous and unpredictable world, and then we need strong partnerships between countries and alliances that believe in democracy and freedom. And Japan is one of our oldest and most capable partners, and therefore my visit here to Japan is a way to further strengthen the partnership between NATO and our highly valued partner, Japan. 

Thank you.