TOKYO -- Japanese officials and NATO officials met Tuesday to discuss ways they can increase military cooperation and joint exercises in response to concerns about Russia's invasion Ukraine.
Nobuo Kishi, Japanese Defense Minister, stated that Japan wants to strengthen its ties and is open to NATO's increased involvement in the Indo-Pacific.
Kishi stated that "the security of Europe is closely intertwined with Asia, especially now when the international community faces serious challenges."
Bauer's visit to Tokyo is scheduled as Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force participates in NATO naval exercises at the Mediterranean Sea.
In the face of China's rise, Japan has been increasing its military capabilities, cooperation with Europe, and its alliance with the United States, as well as its partnerships with other countries within the Indo-Pacific region.
It involved four Japanese F-15 fighter planes and two U.S. F-16s. The exercise was meant to demonstrate the militaries' "strong dedication and close cooperation in responding any emergency while further strengthening the strong alliance."
Fumio Kinio, Prime Minister of Japan, has been invited to attend the NATO summit this month. He is said to be considering going to the meeting. This would make him the first Japanese leader to do that.
Koji Yamazaki, the Japanese Military Chief Of Staff, attended a NATO meeting in Belgium in May for the first time.
Bauer praised their increased engagement with "shared security problems"
Japan joined Europe and the United States in imposition of sanctions against Russia and supporting Ukraine. The crisis not only affects Europe, but could also encourage China to assert itself in the Indo-Pacific.