Japan, Canada Strength Security Cooperation with Eye on China, North Korea, Taiwan Strait

From the Canadian navy’s X account
The Canadian navy frigate the Ottawa leaves Canada for Japan.

As a show of Japan and Canada’s enhanced security cooperation, the Maritime Self-Defense Force is making arrangements to conduct joint exercises with the Royal Canadian Navy.

Tokyo hopes to enhance its deterrence capability against Beijing and Pyongyang by deepening cooperation with Ottawa and other governments that share its values.

The Canadian navy had announced it will conduct Operation Horizon, a multi-ship deployment in the Indo-Pacific region, from this month through December. As the first port call for the operation, its frigates the Ottawa and the Vancouver are slated to call at the MSDF’s Yokosuka base in Kanagawa Prefecture later this month.

Canada’s defense attache to Japan, Capt. Robert Watt, stressed the significance of the operation during a press conference at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo on Aug. 8, saying the aim of the operation is to maintain the rules-based international order. During the operation, the Canadian navy will conduct exercises around the Taiwan Strait in addition to joint exercises with the MSDF and others, Watt said at the conference.

Canada has been increasing its involvement in the Indo-Pacific region in recent years. It released its first Indo-Pacific Strategy last November, which referred to China as “an increasingly disruptive global power” and spelled out a policy of promoting cooperation in the security field with countries such as Japan and India.

Canada has participated in the Japan-U.S. joint effort to monitor the smuggling of goods by North Korea since 2018 and issued a joint statement on promoting security cooperation at a Japan-Canada defense ministers’ meeting in 2019.

Amid growing concerns over the situation surrounding Taiwan, Japan welcomes Canada’s involvement as it hopes to “enhance deterrence by involving more countries,” according to a senior Defense Ministry official.

Besides the maritime domain, Tokyo and Ottawa are also expected to deepen cooperation in the newer domains of cyber and space.