Canada and Japan enjoy a strong and dynamic relationship, which is fostered by shared values and common interests including promoting and upholding democracy, human rights, the rule of law, open markets and arms control and disarmament.
Japan is a valued regional and global security partner. Strong shared values and common interests have led to steady peace and security cooperation and dialogue between Canada and Japan on a wide range of regional and global issues. Increasing defence cooperation with Japan is a priority for the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Forces (CF). DND/CF’s growing cooperation with the Japanese Self Defence Force (JSDF) includes the following initiatives:
- Canada-Japan Joint Declaration on Political, Peace and Security Cooperation—signed in November 2010, this represents the first formal Political-Security framework between our two countries.
- Canada-Japan 2+2 Dialogue—first held on 29 August, 2011, this deputy-minister level dialogue (foreign affairs and defence) on political, peace, and security cooperation provides an excellent forum to pursue areas of cooperation between our two militaries.
- Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Standard Operating Procedures (HADR SOP)—agreed upon in 2009, this Memorandum of Cooperation outlines the standard operation procedures for cooperation between our two countries in support of disaster relief missions.
- Directorate Military Training & Cooperation (DMTC)—further to joint peace operations capacity-building commitments at the August “2+2,” Japan has become one of DMTC’s newest implementing partners.
- Operational Cooperation—CF and JSDF frequently cooperate in an operational context, particularly through the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force.
To further advance Canada’s defence relations with Japan, while in Tokyo on March 25, Prime Minister Harper:
- Committed to pursue negotiations towards a Mutual Logistics Support Agreement.
- Committed to continued joint peace operations capacity building in Africa, based on the successful cross-dispatch of Canadian and Japanese trainers to Tanzania in February, 2012.
Recent Defence Cooperation Milestones
Canada-Japan Joint Declaration on Political, Peace and Security Cooperation
On November 14, 2010, Prime Minister Harper and former Japanese Prime Minister Kan signed the Canada-Japan Joint Declaration on Political, Peace and Security Cooperation (Joint Declaration) establishing a framework for regular bilateral interactions between Canada’s deputy ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence, and their Japanese counterparts. This new mechanism, the Political, Peace and Security Subcabinet “2+2” Dialogue, is mandated to provide strategic guidance to working-level mechanisms (including Political-Military and Military-to-Military Talks) in a range of traditional, emerging and forward-looking defence and security cooperation areas.
Canada-Japan 2+2 Dialogue
The inaugural “2+2” was held on 29 August 2011 in Tokyo, Japan. This dialogue highlighted defence initiatives related to enhancing military interactions and interoperability, developing a bilateral mutual logistics support framework, pursuing cooperative exchanges in peacekeeping initiatives in Africa, and holding a strategic dialogue between defence authorities. It also explored new international security cooperation, including joint support to counter-narcotics programming in Afghanistan, non-proliferation and disarmament policy collaboration, and an exchange of best practices in disaster prevention and emergency response. The next 2+2 dialogue is currently planned for fall 2012.
Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Standard Operating Procedures
In 2009, a Canada-Japan Memorandum of Cooperation on Standard Operating Procedures in support of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief missions was agreed upon by former Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon, and his Japanese counterpart. The objective of this Memorandum is to facilitate procedures for the use of Japanese airports and other facilities in Japan by CF aircraft on HADR missions.
Directorate Military Training & Cooperation (DMTC)
A framework to formally recognize DMTC partnerships with other like-minded nations was initiated in 2011. As part of this initiative, a category of implementing partners was added to the program. Current DMTC implementing partners include Japan, France, Lithuania, Poland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
There have been many opportunities for cooperation between the CF and JSDF in recent months. The Canadian Chief of Maritime Staff visited Japan in May 2011 and the Commanding Officer of the Disaster Assistance Response Team was invited by the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) to attend the Multinational Cooperation Program in the Asia-Pacific in September 2011. Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) training ships visited Vancouver on 15-18 June 2011 and were most recently in Halifax on 11-14 August 2011. Exchanges of Canadian and Japanese personnel amongst ships and other exercises between our navies have been very successful. Canadian ships visit Japan regularly. Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship OTTAWA was in Tokyo for the 2+2 Dialogue.
Again this year, Canadian Forces, including Royal Canadian Navy ships, will join the U.S. Navy, JSDF ships, and other navies from countries in Asia Pacific in a major exercise—Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) —designed to prepare forces to work together on a wide range of potential operations and missions.
Finally, Japanese Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) were hosted at CFB Comox in June 2011 and exercises were conducted in concert with U.S. assets. Additionally, Canadian MPA visited Japan in September 2010.
New Defence Cooperation
Negotiations Toward a Bilateral Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA)
In his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Noda on March 25, Prime Minister Harper confirmed Canada’s commitment to pursue negotiations towards a Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) as soon as practicable in 2012. This tool would permit Canadian Forces and Japan Self-Defense Forces units to exchange basic goods and services during training, exercises and operations (e.g. on peacekeeping, disaster response or humanitarian missions) at home and abroad.
Continued Peace Operations Capacity Building in Africa
The inaugural 2+2 Dialogue led to a joint commitment to undertake cooperative exchanges with regard to peacekeeping initiatives in Africa, and to enhance military interactions and interoperability more broadly. To this end, a Program Advisor in peace cooperation serving with Japan’s Cabinet Office joined DND/CF staff as a co-instructor for the Civil-Military Relations (CIMIC) Operator Course in Arusha, Tanzania, held on 13-24 February 2012. Japanese participation in the Peace Support Training Centre course provided value-added knowledge and skills in a CIMIC Peace Support Operations setting. In light of the successful experience in Tanzania, Prime Minister Harper and Japanese Prime Minister Noda agreed to explore new peace operations partnerships in Africa.