Japanese Foreign Minister: Being close to Russia means we share the same challenges
This is a discussion article. The author endorses the opinions expressed in the text, not Aftonbladet.
debate. Sweden is an important partner for Japan in maintaining a free and open international order based on the rule of law, where we share core values.
In light of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, our countries share interests and security challenges in a number of areas as Russia’s neighboring countries, east and west.
In this regard, the security of Europe and the security of the Indo-Pacific region cannot be discussed separately, given the current dangerous international security situation. Strengthening our bilateral relations embodies this.
The world community is now going through a historical turning point.
Russia’s attack on Ukraine has shaken the very foundations of the international order.
Such a challenge to the free and open international order based on the rule of law is by no means only a regional concern; Rather, it is a common challenge that the international community must meet in unison.
Otherwise, similar challenges could arise in other regions and the system that was fundamentally the basis of our peace and prosperity could be overthrown.
But in the Indo-Pacific, unilateral attempts to forcefully change the status quo in the East China Sea and South China Sea continue and even intensify. Military activities around Taiwan are also increasing.
In addition, China and Russia are strengthening their military cooperation, including flights of joint bombers and joint navigation of naval units near Japan.
Moreover, North Korea is escalating its provocations with its repeated firing of ballistic missiles in an unprecedented pace and manner. These include ICBMs, one of which is located within Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
In the face of such a difficult security environment in the Indo-Pacific region, it is necessary not only to cooperate with the countries of the Indo-Pacific, but also with like-minded countries in Europe to maintain a free and open international order based on the rule of law. .
I welcome the increased commitment from Sweden and other European partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
In this sense, it is very timely and important that Ministers from both Europe and the Indo-Pacific region meet here in Stockholm to discuss the importance of a free and open international order based on the rule of law, and the need for such a system to be maintained in the Indo-Pacific region as well.
Especially this year, since Japan is the chair of the G7 and Sweden is the chair of the European Union for the first half of the year, strengthening our bilateral relations has become more important than ever.
I agree that this year presents an excellent opportunity to further deepen our strong ties on all fronts, including politics, defence, trade, investment, academia and culture.
The fact is that the relationship between Japan and Sweden is developing steadily in many areas. In December last year, the “Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology” agreement was signed, which is the cornerstone of security cooperation with Sweden, which has advanced technology in the field of defense.
Universities and companies in both countries are at the forefront in areas such as green and digital technology and life sciences. Our cooperation is making progress in these areas.
In the program “Mutual Understanding, Intellectual Relations, and Academic Exchange Initiative” (MIRAI, which means “future” in Japanese), 20 universities from both countries are actively engaged with academic exchange.
Hitachi Energy – a Japanese company headquartered in Sweden – is also contributing to the global green transition as the world’s largest power grid company.
In 2018, as the Minister responsible for Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, I visited Max IV, the giant synchrotron light facility in Lund, and witnessed firsthand Sweden’s scientific and technological successes.
Based on these experiences, I am convinced that there is room for further deepening of cooperation in high technology between our two countries.
Both countries are taking steps towards the future together. I hope this year will be a year of further progress in bilateral relations.
This time I am visiting Sweden for the first time in my capacity as Foreign Minister of Japan to participate in the Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum that Sweden, as President of the European Union, is organizing with the European Union. Last year, I participated digitally in the Forum, which was then hosted by France; I am even happier that I can personally participate in this year’s forum.
Next week, Japan will host the G7 Hiroshima summit. At the summit, Japan will once again show the world at the leadership level our firm determination to uphold a free and open international order based on the rule of law.
Japan would like to have close cooperation with like-minded countries in Europe, including Sweden, and in the Indo-Pacific region to maintain a free and open international order based on the rule of law.
Yoshimasa Hayashi Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan
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