Japan Announces New Diplomatic Initiative on Nordic Ties

Lehtikuva/Vesa Moilanen via REUTERS
Finnish Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen and her Japanese counterpart Yoko Kamikawa meet in Helsinki, Finland, January 9, 2024.

Tokyo, Jan. 9 (Jiji Press)—Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa announced a new diplomatic initiative in Helsinki, Finland, on Tuesday that aims to boost cooperation between Japan and Nordic countries.

The plan, which includes maritime and security cooperation, is aimed at countering Russian and Chinese advances in the Arctic Ocean.

The initiative, announced in a meeting with Finnish Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen, covers Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland in addition to Finland, and comprises four pillars—the Arctic and oceans, gender equality, security and defense cooperation, and green, digital and science technologies.

Regarding the Arctic and oceans, Kamikawa stressed the importance of a free and open maritime order based on the rule of law, and said that Japan will strengthen coordination with those Nordic countries for the sustainable use of the Arctic.

In security and defense cooperation, the Japanese foreign minister said that Tokyo plans to promote dialogue and defense equipment cooperation with those Nordic countries, stressing that security in the Indo-Pacific is inseparably linked to that of Europe and the Atlantic.

Finland joined NATO last April after neighboring Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. Sweden is in the process of acquiring NATO membership. Tokyo sees the two countries’ shift from their longstanding policy of neutrality as an opportunity to promote security cooperation.