Russia’s invasion of Ukraine not only tramples the foundations of the international order, but has also caused the price of energy and food to rise, which is seriously affecting the world economy and people’s lives. The NATO summit in Madrid is an essential event to anticipate the next stage of the post-Cold War era.
The crisis in Ukraine has made us realize once again that the security of Europe and the Indo-Pacific region is indivisible. With great concern that the situation in Ukraine today may be that of East Asia tomorrow; Japan has decided to turn its policy towards Russia and we are imposing heavy sanctions and providing support to Ukraine, in coordination with partner countries. During this summit, I want to frankly discuss responses to the crisis in Ukraine and further consolidate collaboration with our partners like NATO.
In addition, this summit is of great importance for the regional order of peace in the Indo-Pacific. Partners from this region are invited and it is the first time that a Japanese prime minister has participated in a NATO summit. It is proof that NATO is showing more and more interest in this region, which I very much welcome. I hope that your strong commitment in the Indo-Pacific region will be reflected in the Strategic Concept, which will be renewed at this summit after 12 years.
The Ukraine crisis continues, and at the same time the security environment around Japan is becoming increasingly difficult. In the East and South China Sea, attempts to unilaterally change the status quo without abiding by international law and with coercion continue to take place. In addition, North Korea is intensifying its nuclear weapons and missile-related activities in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, such as repeatedly launching missiles, including international ballistic missiles, with unprecedented frequency and in new ways. It is a clear and serious challenge to the international community.
Taking into account the crisis in Ukraine, and the increasingly severe security environment in East Asia, Japan will develop a new national security strategy before the end of the year, and undertake a drastic reinforcement of its defense capabilities in five years. No country can defend its security on its own. I myself will promote both a foreign and security policy based on the realism of a new era.
To protect the peace order in the Indo-Pacific region, collaboration with NATO member countries is crucial. In this regard, I welcome Spain’s growing interest in this region, as reflected in the recent appointment of the Ambassador on Special Mission for the Indo-Pacific. Likewise, after the bilateral exercise in waters near Guam last year, the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Spanish Navy have carried out a naval maneuver in the Strait of Gibraltar. I’m glad practical collaborations like this are moving forward. Japan will draw up a Free and Open Indo-Pacific Plan for Peace before next spring, and I express my determination to further consolidate collaboration with partner countries.
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Japan will continue to promote the ideal of a world without nuclear weapons, as the only country to suffer from atomic bombs in the war. In no case are threats with this type of weapon acceptable, as Russia is doing, let alone their use. To promote again an environment conducive to the disarmament of nuclear weapons, I myself will take the lead and lead the discussions on the concrete steps to be taken to achieve this end. In addition, Japan will take the lead in the deliberations for the consolidation of UN functions, including the reform of the Security Council.
I want to take advantage of this summit, to show the unity of Japan and NATO and solidarity with Ukraine, as well as to elevate cooperative relations with NATO to a new dimension for the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
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