1st Japan-Germany 2-plus-2 foreign, defense ministers meeting likely April 16

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The main gate of the Defense Ministry is seen in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo.

Japan and Germany plan to hold their first 2-plus-2 meeting of foreign and defense ministers as early as around April 16 via videoconference, according to Japanese government sources.

The ministers will likely discuss working together to realize the vision of a “free and open Indo-Pacific” and other cooperation in the security sector, with China’s increasingly hegemonic actions in mind.

In September last year, the German government compiled policy guidelines on the Indo-Pacific region as a new diplomatic strategy, enhancing its commitment to the region.

Japan, by strengthening its relationship with core European Union nation Germany, aims to further encourage similar moves among EU nations.

As Berlin has announced plans to deploy a frigate to the Indo-Pacific this summer, the 2-plus-2 meeting will also allow the ministers to coordinate the vessel’s ports of call in Japan and joint drills with the Self-Defense Forces.

The two nations’ enhanced cooperation in the defense and security fields was highlighted in March by the signing of the Japanese-German Agreement on the Security of Information to enable the two countries to exchange confidential information related to security.

It is likely that the ministers in the 2-plus-2 meeting will also discuss such issues as North Korea’s nuclear and missile development, North Korea’s abduction of Japanese nationals and suppression of protesters by Myanmar’s security forces, among other regional affairs.

The 2-plus-2 meeting will be attended by Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi and their German counterparts Heiko Maas and Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.