Japan Plans Closer Ties With 5 Northern European Nations; Artic Ocean an Emerging Area of Shared Concern

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa

The government laid out a policy for a diplomatic initiative to strengthen cooperation with five northern European countries in such fields as security and Arctic Ocean issues.

The government’s announcement of the initiative is to coincide with Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa’s visit to Finland on Tuesday.

The planned initiative aims to counter China and Russia, which have proactively advanced into the Arctic Ocean and other areas of the world.

The initiative will cover four fields: the Arctic Ocean and other ocean issues; gender equality; green and digital science and technology; and security and defense cooperation.

Arctic Ocean ice has been melting more extensively than before due to global warming. As a result, international competition is intensifying over exploiting new marine traffic routes and natural resources in the Arctic Ocean.

In that field, the government plans for Japan and the five countries to confirm that order in free and open oceans based on the rule of law, on which Japan has placed importance, is important also in the Arctic Ocean.

The initiative will also promote cooperation with the northern European countries in weather observation and research on marine resources, areas in which Japan has strengths.

In the field of security and defense cooperation, Japan and the five countries will share a view that security issues in Europe, the Atlantic Ocean and the Indo-Pacific region are inseparable.

Also, Japan and the five countries will promote cooperation eyeing signing of an accord for the transfer of defense equipment and technologies, so that Japan will be able to export defense equipment to the northern European countries.

Kamikawa is scheduled to visit eight countries, including European nations, North American nations and Turkey, between Friday and Jan 18.