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Seventh Meeting of Japan-France Foreign and Defence Ministers (2+2)

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, Ms. Catherine Colonna; Minister for the Armed Forces of the French Republic, Mr. Sébastien Lecornu; Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Mr. Yoshimasa Hayashi; and Minister of Defence of Japan, Mr. Yasukazu Hamada (herein referred to as “the four miniters”) met by video conferencing for the seventh session of the Franco-Japanese political-military ministerial discussions on May 9, 2023.

The four ministers reiterated the significance of the Franco-Japanese “exceptional partnership,” which marks its tenth anniversary in 2023 and is founded on shared values of democracy, freedom, respect for the rule of law, and human rights. The four ministers praised the policy parameters adopted by France and Japan, respectively, in the November 2022 National Strategic Review and the December 2022 Japanese National Security Strategy. They agreed to strengthen security and defence cooperation between France and Japan and tight coordination in international forums, particularly the United Nations Security Council, in order to preserve multilateralism and an open, free, rules-based international order.

The four ministers praised the regularity and efficacy of operational engagements between the Japanese Self-Defence Forces and French Armed Forces, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, including stopovers and collaborative bilateral and multilateral operations.

The Japanese side discussed the National Security Strategy, which was unveiled in December 2022, as well as the “New Plan for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.” The French side greeted them warmly and reaffirmed France’s strong commitment to the Indo-Pacific area. The four ministers also discussed Japanese-French collaboration in cyber, space, and economic security.

The French ministers praised Prime Minister Kishida’s instructions, which he presented in New Delhi on March 20, 2023, as part of Japan’s new plan for a free and open Indo-Pacific, and affirmed that they are commensurate with French and European strategic principles.

The four ministers reiterated the importance of Taiwan Strait peace and stability as essential elements in the international community’s security and prosperity and advocated the peaceful resolution of conflicts between the two coasts. The ministers emphasized that France and Japan maintain their core positions on Taiwan.

The four ministers praised Japan-France defence cooperation and exchanges, such as port calls and joint training, and agreed to expand such collaboration and exchanges, as well as equipment for defence and technology collaboration.

They decided to enhance French-Japanese cooperation projects on defence equipment and technology, particularly by advancing cooperative research on next-generation sea mine detection technologies.

The French ministers expressed gratitude for the work begun by Japan’s G7 chair in 2023 and vowed to continue working together to ensure its complete success. The four ministers agreed to collaborate to create a new road map for Franco-Japanese cooperation from 2023 to 2027. The four ministers decided to continue their conversations, buoyed by the success of the May 9th meeting, and urged their separate administrations to strictly follow up on the meeting’s outcomes.