Japanese-EU Naval Security Cooperation, October 2020


On October 7, 2020, the Japanese Ministry of Defence issued a joint press release which highlighted the EU-Japan joint naval exercise.

According to that statement:

On 5-6 October, the EU and Japan carried out a joint naval exercise in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia.

The exercise involved a warship supporting maritime patrol aircraft of EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta and a vessel of the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force patrolling the region against piracy.

The exercise confirmed the commitment of the EU and Japan and the coordination between their respective forces in the fight against piracy.

The EU and Japan are committed to upholding the rules-based international order through practical maritime cooperation, including cooperation on freedom of navigation and overflight, to secure sea- lanes of communication and to protect the global maritime domain against all types of threat, traditional and non-traditional.

In this context, the EU and Japan reaffirm the universal and unified character of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which sets out the legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out.

The EU and Japan are determined to pursue and enhance their cooperation on freedom of navigation and maritime security through future training initiatives and operational activities at sea. Furthermore, they stand ready to extend their lasting cooperation in this area so as to include also other partners in the Indian Ocean and in the Pacific region.

Below is press release by the Japanese Ministry of Defence dated October 16, 2020 which highlights a joint port call and joint activities by the Japanes Navy with the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR).

And an article published earlier by the Japanese Ministry of Defence highlighted co-operation between the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force and a Spanish frigate.

On July 16th and 17th, the JMSDF’s JS Onami, assigned to the 36th Deployment Surface Force for Counter Piracy Enforcement, conducted a bilateral training in the west of the Gulf of Aden with the Spanish Navy frigate “Santa Maria” belonging to the EU Maritime Force, and with “Dae Jo Yeong,” a Korean Navy destroyer respectively.

With “Santa Maria,” JS Onami conducted a variety of training to be prepared mainly for piracy cases, such as anti-surface firing and responding to small vessels in close proximity. With “Dae Jo Yeong,” JS Onami conducted communications training.

The Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia, where the deployment surface force is implementing its activities, are important areas through which approx. 19,000 vessels, including 1,700 Japan-related vessels, pass annually. Against the backdrop of increasing number of incidents caused by pirates armed with machine guns, rocket launchers and other weapons, the JSDF has deployed destroyers to provide escort for private vessels navigating in these waters since March 2009. On top of that, in order to deal with piracy in such vast maritime areas more effectively, the JSDF has also dispatched fixed-wing patrol