Canada-Japan Action Plan for contributing to a free and open Indo-Pacific region
On October 11, 2022, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada Mélanie Joly and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan HAYASHI Yoshimasa met in Tokyo.
The two ministers shared a strong sense of urgency that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine would have serious and enormous repercussions not only for Europe but also for the international community as a whole, and undermine universal values such as freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, as well as the foundation of the rules-based international order. The international community should not accept any unilateral attempts to change the status quo, including by force.
The two ministers also concurred that the challenges to the rules-based international order make Canada-Japan collaboration all the more important. They reconfirmed the importance of further strengthening the two countries’ strategic partnership as well as working together with like-minded countries to realize the shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific based on the rule of law, which is of vital importance for international peace, stability and prosperity.
In this context, Minister Joly stated that Canada’s developing Indo-Pacific Strategy will aim to complement efforts made by like-minded partners, including Japan’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)” vision. Minister Hayashi stated that he looked forward to the launch of Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, which would showcase Canada’s engagement as an Indo-Pacific nation.
Regarding the “Shared Canada-Japan Priorities contributing to a free and open Indo-Pacific”Footnote 1, the two ministers concurred to steadily implement the following as an Action Plan in order to strengthen concrete efforts in collaboration with like-minded countries in the region.
The two ministers decided to (1) actively coordinate and cooperate in various fora, including the G7; (2) regularly update the contents of the Action Plan, as appropriate, based on bilateral discussions and as international developments may warrant, and to share analysis and assessments on areas of common interest; (3) steadily implement the Action Plan in close coordination with relevant ministries and agencies of both countries; (4) summarize the progress of the discussions, utilizing for instance the Canada-Japan Political, Peace and Security Subcabinet 2+2 Dialogue, the Canada-Japan Joint Economic Committee (JEC) and the Canada-Japan Joint Committee on Science and Technology (CJJC), and confirm its progress with the relevant Ministers.
1. Rule of Law
Both sides shared the common recognition on deepening cooperation between the two countries to maintain the international order based on the rule of law in the following mutual priority areas through implementing the actions below.
Prompt Conclusion of General Security of Information Agreement
Both sides confirmed that they have completed preparatory meetings on a proposed General Security of Information Agreement (GSOIA), and welcomed the launch of official negotiations with the goal of reaching an agreement as soon as possible to facilitate information sharing between the two countries. Both sides showed a strong expectation of further strengthening bilateral cooperation, including between the Japanese Self Defense Forces and the Canadian Armed Forces, through the conclusion of the GSOIA.
Cooperation in Response to North Korea's Nuclear and Missile development activities including those regarding the Illegal Ship-to-Ship Transfers Related to North Korea
Both sides condemned North Korea’s ongoing nuclear and missile development activities, including its launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and called on North Korea for complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement of all nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs). Both sides also confirmed that they would further promote coordination and cooperation to identify, investigate and respond to illegal activities at sea, including North Korea’s illicit ship-to-ship transfers. As part of this effort, the Canadian side expressed its intention to continue the deployment of Canadian military assets, which was welcomed by the Japanese side. Both sides further confirmed that they would coordinate and cooperate to build international capacity to ensure the effective implementation of relevant UNSCRs. The Japanese side also asked for continued understanding and cooperation toward the immediate resolution of the abductions issue, to which the Canadian side offered its renewed support.
Cooperation on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation
Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to work closely with each other to maintain and strengthen the regime of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as the cornerstone of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, including through activities in the framework of the Non-proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), the Stockholm Initiative for Nuclear Disarmament and Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (GP). Both sides also stressed the need to maintain and strengthen momentum for bringing the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) into force through initiatives such as Meeting of the Friends of the CTBT as well as to commence negotiation on a treaty banning the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (FMCT). Both sides commit to supporting and promoting the objectives of the multilateral export control regimes to prevent the proliferation of materials, technology and research that could be used to develop weapons, including weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and their means of delivery.
Cooperation in Joint Exercises
Both sides welcomed the regular realization of Canada-Japan joint exercise “KAEDEX.” In addition, both sides recognized each other’s participation in joint exercises such as Exercise “KEEN SWORD”, a biennial Japan/United States joint exercise designed to increase readiness and interoperability, and planned to further continue their bilateral defence cooperation.
Expansion of defence exchanges
Both sides decided to resume exchanges among officers, including high-level exchanges. The Canadian side welcomed Japan’s dispatch to Canada of a resident defence attaché from March 2023, as it would strengthen the defence cooperation between the two countries. The Japanese side welcomes the addition of a Canadian Armed Forces liaison officer with US forces based in Yokosuka starting in the summer of 2022. Furthermore, both sides resolved to realize reciprocal visits by defence ministers as soon as possible, and to further expand defence exchanges.
Contribution of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Anti-Piracy in Asia (ReCAAP)
Both sides noted that the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Anti-Piracy in Asia (ReCAAP) has been making a significant contribution to safe maritime transport that will bring stability and prosperity to the region. The Japanese side also highly appreciated that Canada is considering the possibility of accession to the ReCAAP.
Cooperation with ASEAN
Both sides reaffirmed the importance of cooperation with ASEAN, and supporting ASEAN centrality in the ASEAN-led regional architectures, including ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), in advancing their shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific. In this context, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to working with ASEAN and to promoting complementarities with the “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP).” Both sides reaffirmed their strong opposition to any unilateral attempts to change the status quo including those by force in the East and South China Seas. They reiterated their commitment to working closely together to maintain and strengthen a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law, including United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). In addition, both sides reaffirmed that they would work together with ASEAN countries, based on their shared position on the importance of the Arbitral Tribunal’s award under the UNCLOS over the disputes between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China in the South China Sea. The Japanese side also recognized Canada’s contributions to regional peace and stability and took note of Canada’s aspiration to participate in the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting-Plus (ADMM Plus) and the East Asia Summit (EAS).
Maintaining Maritime Order in the Arctic
Both sides confirmed the importance of maintaining maritime order in the Arctic Ocean, consistent with international law, including UNCLOS, the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean and the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (the Polar Code). In this regard, the Canadian side welcomed Japan’s participation as an observer in Operation Nanook, a joint military exercise organized by the Canadian Armed Forces in Canada’s Arctic. Both sides also confirmed mutual interests in advancing scientific cooperation, especially on climate change, as well as our commitment to develop the region with consideration and respect of the rights and knowledge of Indigenous Peoples.
Cooperation in the Fight Against IUU Fishing
Both sides acknowledged cooperation on combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Indo-Pacific region so far, and shared views on further cooperation in the future. The Canadian side expressed its appreciation for Japan’s hosting of a Canadian fisheries patrol aircraft to support monitoring, control and surveillance operations in the North Pacific. Both sides also committed to continuing their cooperation to counter IUU fishing and the importance of international cooperation in this regard through discussions at the G7, regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum, and other relevant fora.
Cooperation in Cyberspace
Both sides confirmed that they would continue to cooperate in multilateral fora such as the UN and the ARF to promote responsible State behavior in cyberspace at the international and regional levels, including with specific countries through confidence building measures and capacity building.
The Canada-Japan Joint Committee Meeting for Science and Technology
Both sides decided to strengthen cooperation in the areas of science, technology and innovation such as artificial intelligence, quantum and high-performance computing, health-related technologies, environmental research, physics R&D, and researcher mobility via CJJC and other fora.
Cooperation on Official Development Assistance (ODA)
Both sides concurred to explore areas for collaboration on official development assistance (ODA) policy and programming in the region. This includes seeking opportunities for joint cooperation activities at the project-level in specific Indo-Pacific countries and beyond. Both sides also decided to collaborate closely through the development track of the G7, continuing our tradition of partnership through key multilateral fora. They concurred to meet to explore potential cooperation opportunities in third countries, including training. The Japanese side welcomed Canada’s intent to join the Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP), and both sides confirmed their willingness to cooperate in supporting the Pacific Islands region and its priorities.
Reaffirming the importance of sustainable finance for long-term economic growth and development, both sides concurred to work together to promote transparent and fair development finance across all debtors and creditors in accordance with internationally recognized principles, rules, and standards, including through deepening discussions and fostering cooperation among likeminded partners.
2. Peacekeeping Operations and Peacebuilding, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief
Both sides concurred to explore opportunities for further cooperation between the two countries in the following areas including UN peace operations, peacebuilding and humanitarian assistance and others, and implement the actions below.
Cooperation in Peace Operations
Given that both sides have committed to promoting cooperation with third countries in peacekeeping operations, both sides confirmed that they would share knowledge through Japan led “UN Triangular Partnership Programme” and Canada’s “Military Training Cooperation Program” and promote cooperation, including observer participation in each other’s programs.
Cooperation in Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief
Both sides confirmed that they would share the wealth of knowledge they have developed in these fields, as well as promote the use of ODA at the field level of assistance implementation and ensure that the principles of humanitarian assistance are fully respected. Both sides also confirmed the cooperation between the Japan Self-Defense Forces and Canadian Armed Forces, including through the Japan-Canada Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA). They also reconfirmed the importance of supporting the UN Peacebuilding Commission and the UN Peacebuilding Fund.
Both sides confirmed that they have been promoting the exchange of knowledge, information, and views on counterterrorism and security-related issues through regional and international frameworks such as the UN, the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), the ARF, the Christchurch Call, and the G7 Rome-Lyon Group. Both sides concurred that it is particularly important to promote the sharing of good practices on countermeasures against violent extremism and radicalization to violence in the online space.
Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Cooperation
Both sides concurred on the need to promote the sharing of knowledge on women, peace, and security (WPS), through exchanges of views among officials and experts. As the Canadian side drafts its third National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security, both sides see this as an opportunity to raise ambitions in implementing WPS initiatives. Opportunities for advancing WPS collaboration may be explored through initiatives related disaster risk reduction, including via engagements of the WPS Focal Points Network and ARF.
3. Health Security and Responding to COVID-19
Both sides concurred to coordinate to tackle COVID-19, improve health outcomes and strengthen health security around the world as well as in the region, and implement the actions below.
Equitable Access to Vaccines, Tests, and Treatments
Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to promote equitable access to vaccines, tests, and treatments in the fight against COVID-19. Both sides also concurred to cooperate in global initiatives to build a resilient supply chain to ensure stability and predictability in the supply of medical supplies.
Promotion of Universal Health Coverage (UHC)
Both sides decided to re-invigorate discussions at the UN, G7 etc., and to strengthen cooperation with international organizations to promote UHC.
Strengthening the Global Health Architecture for Health Security
Both sides reasserted a desire to strengthen cooperation among finance and health authorities in countries and international organizations to enhance prevention, preparedness and response (PPR) to future regional and international health security crises, including through the development of a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic PPR. This could entail working together to strengthen international health frameworks such as the International Health Regulations (2005), and multilateral institutions, including the WHO. In this regard, both sides concurred not to create a geographic vacuum in addressing international health security challenges.
Strengthening Collaboration through the UN Secretary-General’s Mechanism for the Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical, Biological, and Toxic Weapons (UNSGM)
Both sides concurred on strengthening cooperation toward the operationalization of the UNSGM.
Cooperation in the Field of Health and Biosecurity in ASEAN
Canada is working to mitigate biological threats in ASEAN, while Japan is supporting the ACPHEED (ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies & Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED). Both sides decided to promote cooperation in this area through their collaboration with ASEAN.
Sustainable Laboratory Solutions with the collaboration with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)
Both sides concurred to explore opportunities to support the Grand Challenge for Sustainable Laboratories, which aims to identify innovative solutions to mitigate serious risks posed by inadequate biological laboratories in low-resource settings.
4. Energy Security
Both sides recognized various factors that are adversely affecting global energy security, notably the consequences for energy supplies and markets of Russia’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine and committed to implementing the actions below.
Bilateral Energy Partnership
Both sides noted the importance of energy security and the need for appropriate investments consistent with our climate objectives to ensure sufficient oil and natural gas production to address global affordability challenges. They welcomed the growing bilateral energy partnership as demonstrated by the steady and reliable flow of Canadian liquefied petroleum gas to Japan since 2019 as well as progress on energy infrastructure, notably the LNG Canada project, which will enable Canada to act as a major source of energy security for Japan and the Indo-Pacific region in the coming years.
Both sides noted the private sectors’ interest in contributing to renewable energy projects, clean and transition technology in each other’s markets. They urged regulators to facilitate investments and exchanges that will drive progress in the energy transition. Of note, both sides signaled strong support for opportunities in the areas of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) and carbon recycling, hydrogen and ammonia that are matters of priority for both countries’ governments and private sectors.
Technical Exchanges on Nuclear Technology
Regarding atomic energy, both sides concurred on the potential for small modular reactor (SMR) technology to generate clean electricity and noted examples of cooperation between their businesses and authorities that are advancing in this area with the intention of creating more resilient nuclear supply chains. They also highlighted the benefits of cooperation on and technical exchanges regarding the decommissioning of nuclear reactors and nuclear waste disposal, as well as the full utilization of existing nuclear power including extending reactor operation period.
Both sides emphasized the importance of critical minerals both to the energy transition and to advanced technologies and signaled support for enhanced collaboration to reach common objectives vis-à-vis these strategic commodities. They welcomed both governments’ significant efforts to encourage strengthening the resiliency of critical minerals supply chains, and called on their investors and project developers to redouble efforts to exploit the potential of strengthened ties on critical minerals.
Canada-Japan Energy Policy Dialogue
In view of the foregoing and the pronounced character of both countries’ overlapping and complementary energy interests, both sides conveyed strong support for the Canada-Japan Energy Policy Dialogue and its five working groups that focus on:
(i) Oil and Gas; (ii) Hydrogen; (iii) Atomic Energy; (iv) Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage/Carbon Recycling; and (v) Critical Minerals.
5. Free Trade Promotion and Trade Agreement Implementation
Both sides recalled the leading role their governments have played in establishing, promoting, and defending the existing international trade order and the many benefits their businesses and citizens have derived from it. They highlighted the important role that trade and investment can play in advancing inclusive economic growth, especially for traditionally underrepresented groups in trade, including women, Indigenous peoples and small and medium-sized enterprises. They recognized the challenges to free trade principles that have arisen in recent years and resolved to strengthen cooperation to confront such challenges through implementing the actions below.
Implementation and Expansion of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)
Both sides noted the fundamental importance of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to promote free trade, open and competitive markets, and economic integration in the Indo-Pacific and beyond, and the transformative effect it has had on bilateral and regional trade. They welcomed the numerous opportunities for collaboration between their governments through the establishment and the maintenance of the CPTPP. They highlighted the CPTPP’s comprehensive suite of chapters aimed at improving trade-related technical cooperation among CPTPP members, including with respect to small and medium-sized enterprises and women’s economic empowerment. They affirmed their intention to continue to work closely together to ensure the steady implementation and expansion of the CPTPP to extend its high standard rules. With regard to the interest shown by aspirant economies in acceding to the CPTPP, both sides shared the recognition on the importance of maintaining its high standards and upholding the spirit and principles of the CPTPP, which does not tolerate economic coercion and unfair trade practices. They made clear that accession is open to economies committed to the Agreement’s objectives, and able to meet and adhere to its high standards and ambitious market access commitments. They encouraged their officials to continue their close collaboration, both bilaterally and jointly with CPTPP partners, on managing accessions in a manner consistent with the Accession Process decided at the first CPTPP Commission meeting in Tokyo in January 2019.
Advancing World Trade Organization (WTO) Reform
Commending the success of 12th Ministerial Conference of the WTO (MC12), both sides signaled their intention to continue to work together with partners to advance all three pillars of WTO reform (monitoring, rule-making, dispute settlement). Cooperation through various fora, including the Ottawa Group on WTO Reform, WTO bodies and committees, the G7, G20, and APEC, etc., will continue with a view to advancing progress on WTO reform initiatives.
Strengthening Economic Security Including Resilience of Supply Chains and Cooperation on Emerging Technologies
Both sides concurred on the importance of deepening cooperation to promote long-term economic security including resilience of supply chains and cooperation in emerging technologies. They reaffirmed their intention to work to improve supply chain resilience in order to promote sustainable and predictable trade. Both sides also confirmed that they would encourage increased bilateral cooperation in emerging technologies such as AI and quantum technology, including supporting technological design, development, protection, governance, and usage as well as promote their shared values through international initiatives like the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI).
Addressing Economic Coercion
Both sides confirmed the importance of cooperating among like-minded countries in addressing economic coercion, which is not only inconsistent with the basic principles of the multilateral trading system but also with key principles of the rules-based international order. Both sides committed to work together to identify, prevent, deter and address economic coercion, to share information concerning economic coercion, as well as to explore the development of new diplomatic and economic tools to respond to the challenges.
Ensuring Fair Trade by Countering Non-Market Policies and Practices
Both sides confirmed their commitment to advocate for fair, open and predictable global markets, addressing non-market policies and practices, such as forced technology transfers including those enabled through regulations on government procurement as well as national standards. They affirmed their intention to ensure a level playing field for trade that reflects the rules that underpin the multilateral trading system noting the benefits of cooperating bilaterally and with partners to counter unfair, non-market policies and practices as well as economic coercion.
Canada-Japan Trade Policy Engagement
Recognizing their many shared trade policy interests and ongoing collaboration in a number of trade forums, both sides acknowledged the benefits of bilateral dialogue and cooperation on trade issues. They welcomed the opportunities for dialogue on trade that arise in the context of the Canada-Japan Joint Economic Committee and its Cooperative Working Group. To complement and build on engagement through these existing frameworks, both sides encouraged their officials to seek additional opportunities to consult informally on important trade policy issues and consider coordinating actions to advance shared priorities.
6. Environment and Climate Change
Both sides recognized the importance of the environment and climate change issue in the Indo-Pacific and to work bilaterally to implement the actions below.
CANADA-JAPAN Ministerial Dialogue on Climate and Environment
Both sides committed to utilizing existing bilateral dialogue schemes, sharing best practices, and pursuing more effective measures to protect the environment and address climate change in the Indo-Pacific region and implement the actions below.
Steadfast Implementation of the Paris Agreement
Both sides reaffirmed their intention to strengthen efforts to reach out to major greenhouse gas emitting countries and regions to raise ambitions toward achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and to ensure transparency in their implementation. Both sides also concurred on the importance of capacity building and advocacy efforts in relation to countries that are making efforts in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Achievement of Sustainable Ocean Economy
Both sides decided to promote efforts to achieve the commitments of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy.
Reduction of Marine Plastic Litter
Both sides reaffirmed the need for continued dialogue towards the development of an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment, with the ambition of completing its work by the end of 2024, as adopted by the resumed session of the 5th United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2), to ensure rapid and effective deployment of measures on a global scale.
Response to Forest Conservation and Biodiversity
Both sides reaffirmed the importance of forest conservation and biodiversity, and also affirmed that both sides will strengthen cooperation, including through existing international processes related to sustainable forest management and legal and sustainable timber supply chains to enhance collaboration in the Indo-Pacific region. The Japanese side welcomes that Canada will host the Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) Part two from 7 to 19 December 2022.
Support for Food Security and Climate Change
Both sides concurred to strengthen collaboration on initiatives that effectively integrate action on food security and climate change.
Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan
Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to promoting the success of the Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan which will provide an opportunity to strengthen existing economic, cultural and people-to-people ties between Canada and Japan, in addition to supporting the achievement of SDGs and a better and sustainable carbon neutral future under the Expo theme of “Designing Future Society for Our Lives”.
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