Japan-Malaysia defence cooperation has been expanding: Ambassador

Japan-Malaysia defence cooperation has been expanding: Ambassador

KUALA LUMPUR: Japan-Malaysia defence cooperation has been expanding, year after year, as an integral pillar of the two countries’ strategic partnership, said Japan’s ambassador to Malaysia Katsuhiko Takahashi.

He said that Malaysia’s Defence Minister visited Japan in 2018 and concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to reinvigorate Tokyo-Kuala Lumpur bilateral defence cooperation, and an agreement for the transfer of defence equipment and technologies was also signed in the same year.

The ambassador pointed out that for the past several years before the pandemic, Japanese vessels and aircraft had frequent visits to Malaysia and that Japanese destroyers and Malaysian frigates have conducted friendship exercises off the coast of East Malaysia and Peninsular Malaysia on a number of occasions.

“Personnel exchanges in the security field have also been deepened,” Takahashi said in his speech at Japan’s 68th Self Defence Forces’ Day celebration at his residence, Tuesday night.

Takahashi said he was particularly happy to hold this reception when Japan and Malaysia are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Look East Policy and the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

In his speech, he further said that four Malaysians have graduated from the National Defence Academy of Japan, and five are currently enrolled at the academy.

“From Japan, 14 students have studied at the Malaysia Armed Forces Staff College, including defence attachè Colonel Morita, who is present here. As we are coming out from the pandemic phase, we hope to see the return of exchanges of people and activities between the two countries. Let’s hope that trend will continue and will be back to the pre-Covid time as soon as possible,” the ambassador said.

Takahashi said Asian countries are experiencing economic growth and coming to political maturity, but are at crossroads in terms of security.

He explained that the Japanese Self Defence Forces have been working diligently towards the peace and stability of Southeast Asia as well as Northeast Asia.

“We should keep in mind that peace is not something to be given, but is something we must construct by ourselves and maintain through our own strenuous efforts in defence and diplomacy. Japan looks forward to working together with Malaysia in this regard,” he said.

Recalling the history, Takahashi said that Japan’s modern military forces were established in 1871, soon after the feudal Samurai era ended. The forces were transformed into the present form with the Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defence Forces in 1954.

“The mission of our Self Defence Forces has become ever more crucial amid the turbulent security environment surrounding Japan and East Asia,” he said.-Bernama