The Ministry of Defense of Japan and the Department of National Defence of Canada issued the following joint statement:
The Minister of National Defence of Canada, Harjit Singh Sajjan, and the Minister of Defense of Japan, Takeshi Iwaya, held a bilateral meeting on June 3rd, 2019 in Tokyo. The Ministers welcomed the progress made in bilateral defense cooperation and exchanges under the Canada-Japan Joint Declaration on Political, Peace and Security Cooperation signed in 2010, highlighting outstanding achievements in bilateral defense cooperation over the last several years. The Ministers, emphasizing the significance of the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) signed last year, affirmed their intention to raise the bilateral defense relationship to a new level in this year of the 90th anniversary of the Canada-Japan diplomatic relations.
The Ministers highlighted the following three noticeable developments in recent years and concurred on cooperatively advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific, supported by an inclusive and revitalized rules-based international order.
- The Prime Ministers of Canada and Japan, in April 2019, welcomed the strengthened bilateral relations both in security and economic fields, and re-affirmed their commitment to strengthen the strategic partnership between Canada and Japan, and discussed their shared vision for maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
- Japan’s National Defense Program Guidelines issued last December stated Japan’s intention to promote efforts including joint training and exercises as well as bilateral collaboration on third-party engagement with Canada.
- Canada’s Defense Policy issued in 2017 emphasized Canada’s commitment to strengthen presence and engagements in the Asia-Pacific region.
In order to support their shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, the Ministers confirmed their intention to share strategic viewpoints and to seek bilateral defense cooperation on third-party engagement, including through capacity building and training initiatives in close collaboration with third countries.
Defense Cooperation and Exchanges
Welcoming that the close cooperation between Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) will be further accelerated by the ACSA coming into force following recent completion of both countries’ domestic procedures for the conclusion of ACSA, the Ministers confirmed their commitment to elevating defense cooperation to the next level in the following areas:
The Ministers welcomed advancements in the cooperative relationship in the area of peacekeeping by mutually dispatching personnel to each country’s training courses.
Moreover, the Ministers welcomed further progress of the cooperative relationship through reciprocal exchanges of personnel in both countries’ capacity building initiatives, including:
- The JSDF participation as a lecturer on Canada’s Military Training Cooperation Program (MTCP) Strategic Peace Support Operations Course in Indonesia in August 2018 and as an observer on the MTCP Women, Peace and Security Course in Malaysia in January 2019
- CAF personnel as observers on a Japanese engineering-focused capacity building assistance course in Mongolia in August 2018.
In order to further deepen Canada-Japan bilateral defense relations in peacekeeping, the Ministers announced their shared intention to advance cooperation in engaging with third countries. Both Ministers affirmed to coordinate and explore the possibility of reciprocal cooperation in capacity building initiatives through Canada’s MTCP program and Japan’s related programs in close collaboration with third countries.
The Ministers further expressed their intention to explore areas for cooperation regarding the United Nations Project for Rapid Deployment of Enabling Capabilities, which Japan has contributed to.
2) Joint Training and Unit-to-unit Exchanges
Exchanges between the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Royal Canadian Navy
The Ministers welcomed the increase and advancement of bilateral training between the naval components, exemplified by the regular bilateral training “KAEDEX” since 2017 and Canada’s first participation in last year’s Japan-U.S. bilateral exercise “Keen Sword 2019”. Minister Iwaya also welcomed the port call made by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN)’s submarine in 2017 in Japan for the first time in approximately 50 years, as well as regular port calls made by the RCN’s frigates.
The Ministers affirmed the significance of showing the presence by both naval components in the Indo-Pacific region as it contributes to a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law, and underlined their intention to continue bilateral training, taking advantage of the opportunities when RCN vessels are deployed in this region. The Ministers confirmed their intention also to work together with ASEAN and other countries in this endeavor.
Exchanges between the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force
Noting that the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) visited Canada and conducted unit-to-unit exchanges with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) twice in 2018, the Ministers affirmed to continue air-to-air exchanges through visits of both countries’ air assets to each other’s air bases. They also shared the intention to seek possibilities for conducting a joint training in the future.
Exchanges between the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and the Canadian Army