Updated: 22-Jan-2008 IMS News Release

16 Jan. 2008


First visit of a Chairman of NATO's Military Committee to Japan

Admiral Takashi Saito (left), the Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff, joins General Ray Henault during the inspection of an honour guard in Tokyo.
The Military Committee
NATO-Japan relations

General Henault, the first Chairman of NATO's Military Committee to visit Japan, met with senior military officers, Defence Minister Shigeru Ishiba, and members of the Japanese Diet over the course of two days.

"We share common values and a mutual sense of responsibility toward global security challenges," said Gen. Henault. "This visit, building on that of the Secretary General in December of last year, will help broaden and deepen defence exchange activities between Japan and NATO. My visit is about listening to the needs and wishes of Japanese authorities, to thank them for the significant contributions they are making to Afghanistan, and to share information about how NATO works. I also welcomed the recent decision to resume refuelling operations for coalition ships in the Indian Ocean."

Admiral Takashi Saito, the Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff, joins General Ray Henault in a briefing about Japanese security policies and Japanese Self Defence Force (JSDF) activities, at defence headquarters in Tokyo.

The visit allowed the Alliance's top officer to explain the ways and means for JDSF personnel to access NATO's courses, seminars and conferences, and to learn about how NATO conducts its business, including peace support operations and crisis management exercises.

General Ray Henault meets with Mr. Shigeru Ishiba, the Minister of Defence for Japan, at defence headquarters in Tokyo.

The visit, a first by a Chairman of NATO's Military Committee, marked a further step in the exchange of information about NATO's role, activities and its partnerships with other nations. "I thanked the Minister for Japan's commitment to the reconstruction of Afghanistan including the establishment of good governance," said Gen. Henault. "Japan is the country in Asia with which NATO has the longest-standing relationship, and we had fruitful discussions about how we could continue to work together to meet common objectives."

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