Japan - Joint Statement - Seventh ministerial consultations of the foreign and defence ministers of the French Republic and Japan (9 May 2023)
1 – Mme Catherine Colonna, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, M. Sébastien Lecornu, Minister for the Armed Forces of the French Republic, Mr Yoshimasa Hayashi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, and Mr Yasukazu Hamada, Minister of Defence of Japan (hereinafter referred to as “the four ministers”) met via video conference on 9 May 2023 for the seventh session of the Franco-Japanese political-military ministerial consultations (hereinafter referred to as “2+2”).
2 – The four ministers reaffirmed the importance of the Franco-Japanese “exceptional partnership”, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2023 and is based on shared values of freedom, democracy, respect for the rule of law and human rights.
3 – The four ministers welcomed the strategy guidelines adopted by France and Japan respectively in the French National Strategic Review of November 2022 and the Japanese National Security Strategy of December 2022. They agreed to step up cooperation between France and Japan on security and defence and their close coordination in international forums, particularly the United Nations Security Council, to defend together multilateralism and a free, open, rules-based international order.
4 – The four ministers reaffirmed their aim of stepping up bilateral cooperation on maritime issues and emphasized the importance of the Comprehensive Maritime Dialogue, an essential component of the exceptional partnership between the two countries. The two countries confirmed the importance of coordinating their actions in the area of maritime security capacity building.
5 – The four ministers applauded the regularity and quality of the operational interactions between the French armed forces and the Japanese Self-Defence Forces, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, through stopovers and joint bilateral and multilateral exercises. They welcomed the latest bilateral and multilateral interactions conducted since the last 2+2 dialogue on 20 January 2022, including six joint bilateral “Oguri-Verny” exercises in 2022 and 2023, two multilateral “Lapérouse” exercises in August 2022 and March 2023 and the joint exercise by an escort ship from the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force and the French naval strike group on two occasions, in January and February 2023. They also welcomed the stopovers made by two Japanese ships in France in 2022, and the participation of a French aircraft in Japan’s fleet review in November 2022. They reaffirmed their wish to contribute actively to the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region through their participation in joint exercises and confirmed in this respect that they will seize forthcoming opportunities for exchanges created by the major French (Pégase, Jean d’Arc mission) and Japanese (IndoPacific Deployment) deployments. They agreed to deepen cooperation projects on defence equipment and technology between France and Japan, particularly by furthering progress on the joint research work focusing on next-generation sea mine detection technology.
6 – The four ministers welcomed the progress on discussions about a lasting framework aimed at mutually improving administrative, political and legal procedures for joint operations and exercises between the French armed forces and the Japan Self-Defence Forces. They have issued their respective services with instructions to speed up the discussions further.
7 – The four ministers affirmed their shared wish to strengthen their cooperation to promote a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific space in a bilateral framework and in cooperation with their allies and partners. In this respect, the French ministers welcomed the guidelines Prime Minister Kishida put forward in New Delhi on 20 March 2023 as part of the new Japanese plan for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, and confirmed that it is consistent with French and European strategy guidelines. Moreover, the four ministers reaffirmed their desire to step up Franco-Japanese cooperation for the benefit of the Pacific island States. They also confirmed the importance of the South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting (SPDMM). They acknowledged the contribution to the stability of the South Pacific made by the engagement of the Japan Self-Defence Forces in joint exercises such as Marara in French Polynesia in April 2022 and Croix du Sud in New Caledonia in April 2023. Taking account of the fact that France is an Indo-Pacific nation, the Japanese ministers reaffirmed the importance of France’s presence in the South Pacific (New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna), and the French ministers welcomed the opening of the Japanese consular office in Nouméa in January 2023, which offers new prospects for development and bilateral cooperation.
8 – Sharing strong concerns about the situation in the East China Sea and South China Sea, the four ministers reaffirmed their opposition to any attempt to unilaterally alter the status quo by force or coercion. The four ministers reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait as essential elements in the international community’s security and prosperity, and encouraged a peaceful resolution of disputes between the two shores. The ministers confirmed that France and Japan’s fundamental position on Taiwan remains unchanged.
9 – The four ministers again condemned in the strongest terms the war of aggression launched by Russia against Ukraine, which is a flagrant violation of international law. They agreed to continue their support for Ukraine for as long as it takes and to continue coordinating their action with the international partners, first and foremost within the G7 framework. They reiterated their determination to coordinate closely on the adoption of sanctions against Russia. Furthermore, they emphasized that Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric is unacceptable and that any use of nuclear weapons by Russia would inevitably spark international condemnation and would have serious consequences.
10 – The four ministers emphasized their concern about ongoing nuclear proliferation crises. They voiced their shared determination to ensure that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons, and called on Iran to implement its international obligations and honour its political commitments on non-proliferation without delay. They strongly condemned North Korea’s continuation of its nuclear and ballistic programmes, in breach of United Nations Security Council resolutions. They reaffirmed their commitment to achieving the goal of the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, and of existing North Korean nuclear and ballistic programmes. The four ministers stressed the importance of the full implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. The Japanese ministers highly appreciated France’s steady commitment to the fight against illegal transhipments. The French ministers expressed their support for the efforts Japan is making to ensure the immediate return of all the Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea.
11 – The four ministers are deeply concerned about the situation in Sudan and urged the parties to put an immediate end to hostilities. The Japanese ministers expressed their profound gratitude to France, which led evacuation operations which included Japanese citizens and their families. The four ministers reaffirmed the need to strengthen coordination between France and Japan on protecting their respective nationals in third countries.
12 – The French ministers signalled their appreciation for the work started by the Japanese G7 presidency in 2023 and agreed to continue cooperating towards its full success. The four ministers agreed to coordinate to finalize the new road map on Franco-Japanese cooperation for the period 2023-2027.
13 – Boosted by the success of today’s meeting, the four ministers decided to continue their discussions and instructed their respective administrations to strictly follow up on the results of the meeting.