According to a story published by the Japanese Ministry of Defence, the Finnish Defence Minister visited Japan and met the Japanese Defence Minister on 26 October 2022.
On October 26, 2022, Defense Minister Hamada and Defence Minister Kaikkonen held a Defense Ministerial Meeting from 10:15 for 45 minutes at the Ministry of Defense.
At the outset, Minister Hamada welcomed the visit by Minister Kaikkonen to Japan. Minister Kaikkonen conveyed his appreciation to Minister Hamada for his hosting the meeting.
The two ministers exchanged their views on regional affairs. Both sides affirmed as the international community is facing a severe security environment, the unity between countries sharing in common values such as Japan and Finland is essential.
Minister Hamada resolved to fundamentally reinforce the defense capabilities of Japan through the formulation of National Security Strategy and other documents.
The Ministers reaffirmed that they would continue to promote defense cooperation and exchanges to uphold and reinforce the Free and Open Indo-Pacific while maintaining close communication between high-level and senior-level officials.
This is the Finnish Defence Ministry story on the visit:
Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen will make a working visit to Japan on 25 to 27 October 2022. Minister Kaikkonen’s delegation includes Esa Pulkkinen, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, and Business Finland’s delegation of 11 Finnish companies.
On Wednesday 26 October, Minister Kaikkonen will meet Japan’s Minister of Defense Yasukazu Hamada. The ministers are to discuss regional security environment and the development of bilateral defense cooperation and exchanges.
Apart from attending a Finland-Japan defence industry seminar, Minister Kaikkonen will also meet representatives of the defence industry. The main objectives of the visit are to support Finnish defence industry companies in Japan and to deepen cooperation between Finland and Japan’s defence administrations.
On Thursday 27 October, Minister of Defence Kaikkonen will visit Fuchu to familiarise himself with the Space Operations Group of Japan Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF).
This is what The Mainichi wrote about the visit in a piece published on 26 October 2022:
The defense ministers of Japan and Finland on Wednesday pledged unity against Russia over its war in Ukraine at a time when the international community is facing a severe security environment, the Japanese government said…
Amid growing security concerns following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in May, along with Sweden. The two Scandinavian countries were given a clear path to membership in June after Turkey withdrew its opposition.
After the launch of the Russian war, Japan, a non-NATO member, has been putting more effort into boosting defense cooperation with the trans-Atlantic military alliance, which has gradually deepened its engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.
It may seem odd that countries so far apart geographically are discussing heightened cooperation, but with the opening of the Northern Route, Japan and Finland have a common sea lane to protect against China and Russia.
Also, as the Nordics discuss enhanced defense cooperation there is a clear realization that they have to consider their contribution to the defense of the liberal democracies against the global authoritarians and their alliance.
Editor’s Note: In our book on Pacific defense published in 2013, we anticipated this development as we projected the way forward for Japanese defense policy: