"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Contribution to EL PAÍS by Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio on the Occasion of His Visit to Spain for the NATO Summit

[Date] June 28, 2022
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Full text]

"Japan's Vision on Attending the NATO Summit"

Russian aggression against Ukraine has not only degraded the very foundation of the international order but also precipitated spiraling energy and food prices, significantly impacting the global economy and people's daily lives. The upcoming NATO Summit in Madrid will be a critical moment in predicting the next stage within the post-Cold War era.

The Ukraine crisis caused us to recognize once again that the security of Europe and the Indo-Pacific is inseparable. Giving due regard to a strong sense of crisis that "Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow," Japan decided to fundamentally change its diplomacy towards Russia, and, in cooperation with like-minded countries, has levied powerful sanctions against Russia while providing strong assistance to Ukraine. At the upcoming summit as well, I intend to engage in frank discussions regarding responses to the Ukraine crisis and further strengthen Japan's cooperation with its partners, including NATO.

This summit holds major significance for the peaceful order of the Indo-Pacific region. Partners in the Indo-Pacific region have also been invited to this meeting, and I myself will be attending the NATO Summit as the first Japanese prime minister ever to do so. This is proof of NATO's stronger involvement with the Indo-Pacific region, which I welcome. I look forward to a powerful commitment to the Indo-Pacific region also being included within the NATO Strategic Concept being revised at this summit for the first time in 12 years.

Even as the Ukraine crisis continues to unfold, the security environment surrounding Japan is becoming increasingly severe. There have been repeated attempts in the East China Sea and South China Sea to make unilateral changes to the status quo with force in the background, in disregard for international law. Furthermore, North Korea has repeatedly launched ballistic missiles, including a new type of ICBM, with unprecedented frequency and in new ways. As such, North Korea is making its nuclear and missile programs more active, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, posing a clear and serious challenge to the international community.

Given the Ukraine crisis and the increasingly severe security environment in East Asia, Japan is determined to draw up a new National Security Strategy by the end of 2022 and fundamentally reinforce our defense capabilities within five years. There is no country on earth that can, only by itself, ensure its own security. I will vigorously pursue "realism diplomacy for a new era," operating diplomacy and security as two sides of the same coin.

Cooperation with the countries of NATO will play a decisive role in fully defending the peaceful order of the Indo-Pacific region. From that perspective, I welcome the Spanish government's heightened interest in the Indo-Pacific region, including the appointment of an ambassador for the Indo-Pacific. I am glad that practical cooperation has been advancing, with joint exercises held recently between the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and the Spanish Navy off the Strait of Gibraltar, following upon last year's exercises off Guam. Japan is determined to draft a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific Plan for Peace" by next spring and further strengthen its cooperation with like-minded countries.

As the only country to have experienced the horror of nuclear devastation in war, Japan holds high the banner of the ideal of realizing a world free of nuclear weapons. The threat of nuclear weapons now being made by Russia, let alone the use of them, should never be tolerated under any circumstances. In order to foster high momentum towards nuclear disarmament once more, I myself will demonstrate leadership and lead discussions on a realistic route to get there. Japan will also lead discussions to strengthen the functions of the United Nations, including the reform of the UN Security Council.

I intend to make this NATO Summit one in which we demonstrate to the world the unity between Japan and NATO as well as our solidarity with Ukraine. I also plan to make this summit into an opportunity to raise to a new dimension our cooperative relations with NATO towards realizing a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.