Japan, France Agree to Accelerate Talks for Defense Cooperation

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada, right, speaks as Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi sits next to him during a meeting with their French counterparts in Tokyo on Tuesday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Japanese and French governments have agreed to accelerate working-level talks to enhance their diplomatic and defense cooperation further.

The two sides will consider concluding a bilateral reciprocal access agreement to allow the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the French military to conduct joint exercises smoothly.

Japan and France reached the consensus on Tuesday at a so-called two-plus-two meeting of their foreign and defense ministers held online. It was attended by Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada as well as French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna and Armed Forces Minister Sebastien Lecornu.

It was the seventh two-plus-two meeting between the two countries and the first since January last year.

In a joint statement issued after the day’s meeting, the ministers said that they reaffirmed their opposition to any unilateral attempts to change the status quo, apparently with China in mind.

The statement referred to the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, saying that there is no change in the basic stances of Japan and France with regard to Taiwan.