New Zealand Embassy Tokyo, Japan
New Zealand and Japan Defence Chiefs Reaffirms Ties
Chief of Defence, Lieutenant General Rhys Jones, made a two-day official visit to Japan this week. This was first such defence chief visit to Japan since early 2008. The Japanese extended a very warm welcome to Lt General Jones through an honour guard ceremony and meetings with top ranking military officers and Defence officials in Japan including Jones’ counterpart General Iwasaki.
The visit came at an important time as New Zealand and Japan are poised to step up defence and security cooperation. A key theme throughout the high level talks and visits to Camp Zama and Fuchu Airbase was that steps are being taken by both organisations to improve joint force and amphibious capabilities. Both militaries have substantial maritime territories to cover, and increasing needs to independently and quickly deal with events across these expanses and over shores in their respective regions. Jones and Iwasaki were keen to see their military ties extend beyond current levels. Both agreed that a great deal will come from unit level exchanges, given the similar values and professionalism shared by their people.
The Japan Self Defence Force is taking steady and confident steps to increase its ability to operate at the highest level in international coalition operations and we will look to draw on our shared experiences in this area.