Joint Statement of the Inaugural Japan-Philippines Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting (“2+2”)

09 April 2022

1.       Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister of Defense of Japan KISHI Nobuo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr., and Secretary of Defense of the Republic of the Philippines Delfin N. Lorenzana (hereinafter referred to as “Ministers”) met in Tokyo, Japan on 9 April 2022 for the inaugural Japan-Philippines Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting (“2+2”). The Ministers expressed the view that the 2+2 is a fitting next step to lay the foundations for the second decade of the bilateral Strategic Partnership.

2.         The Ministers welcomed the 2+2 as a key instrument for advancing bilateral security and defense cooperation amidst both longstanding and emerging challenges to regional peace and stability. During the meeting, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen the bilateral Strategic Partnership based on common interests and the shared values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights, and a free and open economy. In light of the increasingly severe security environment, the Ministers emphasized the need to strengthen dialogue between the two countries.

3.         The Ministers resolved to increase the defense capabilities of their own countries, and further strengthen overall defense relations through defense capacity and capability building, reciprocal port calls/ship visits, transfer of more defense equipment and technology, and continuous cooperation on previously-transferred defense equipment. The Ministers concurred to start considering ways to further enhance and facilitate cooperation such as exercises between Japan Self-Defense Forces and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, including frameworks to facilitate their reciprocal visits as well as reciprocal provision of supplies and services in the field of logistical support.

4.         In light of the contribution of a strong US presence to regional stability, the Ministers underscored the importance of each country’s respective treaty alliance with the United States and that of enhancing cooperation with regional partner countries.

5.         The Ministers reaffirmed that the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)” and the “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP)” share fundamental principles and welcomed the continued progress of concrete cooperation between ASEAN and Japan based on the “Joint Statement of the 23rd ASEAN-Japan Summit on Cooperation on ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific,” adopted in 2020.

6.         The Ministers recognized the importance of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and maritime law enforcement based on international law, in particular the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which are vital elements for regional peace and prosperity. The Philippines welcomed the enhancement of its maritime law enforcement capabilities including the procurement of its largest patrol vessels from Japan.

7.         The Ministers expressed serious concern about the situation in the East and South China Seas and strongly opposed actions that may increase tensions. The Ministers underscored the importance of peace and stability in the region and the security of its seas. The Ministers reaffirmed their common commitment to freedom of navigation and overflight in the East and South China Seas, and a rules-based approach in resolving competing claims in maritime areas within the framework of international law, in particular UNCLOS. Japan concurred with the Philippines’ long standing objections to unlawful maritime claims, militarization, coercive activities and threat or use of force in the South China Sea, and expressed its support for the July 2016 arbitral award on the South China Sea. The Philippines emphasized that the arbitral award on the South China Sea is final and legally binding. The Ministers called for the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea consistent with UNCLOS and not prejudicial to the legitimate rights of all stakeholders in the South China Sea.

8.         The Ministers confirmed the importance of the Sulu-Celebes Seas and their surrounding areas, concurring on enhancing cooperation in fields such as maritime connectivity and safety, infrastructure and human resources development.

9.         The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability in the Bangsamoro region of Mindanao, and welcomed the substantial progress made in the peace process. The Philippines acknowledged Japan’s role in support of the Mindanao peace process.

10.      The Philippines reiterated its commitment to the Five-Point Consensus and the restoration to the status quo ante the military takeover in Myanmar. Japan reaffirmed its support for ASEAN’s efforts to improve the situation in Myanmar through the Five-Point Consensus, including Cambodia’s active engagement as ASEAN chair. The Ministers concurred on intensifying international efforts toward humanitarian assistance, the immediate cessation of all violence, the release of those who are arbitrarily detained, and a swift return to the path of inclusive democracy. 

11.      Japan reaffirmed its unwavering support for ASEAN unity and centrality. The Ministers shared the view that the 50th year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation in 2023 would be a good occasion for ASEAN and Japan to jointly provide guidance for future cooperation, and looked forward to raising ASEAN-Japan relations to new heights next year at the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit in Japan and beyond.

12.      The Ministers condemn the abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea over the years, and urged North Korea to immediately resolve the abductions issue. The Ministers condemned North Korea’s ongoing development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and reiterated their commitment to achieving the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges of North Korea. The Ministers urged North Korea to fully comply with all of its obligations under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs), and emphasized the importance of the international community to fully implement the UNSCRs.

13.      The Ministers, recalling the United Nations General Assembly Resolutions (A/RES/ES-11/1 and A/RES/ES-11/2), shared the view that aggression against a UN Member State which infringes upon its sovereignty and territorial integrity, constitutes a serious violation of international law prohibiting the use of force, and is a grave breach of the UN Charter, and deplored the dire humanitarian consequences of the hostilities, especially in Bucha. This aggression jeopardizes the foundation of the international order which does not accept any unilateral change of the internationally recognized borders through the use of force, thus affecting not only Europe but also Asia. The Ministers urged for an immediate stop of the use of force and the withdrawal of the military forces from the territory of Ukraine. Recalling the 1982 Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes, the Ministers highlighted the need to exert all efforts to de-escalate the situation and continue pursuing dialogue and diplomacy to settle disputes, maintain international peace and security, halt the growing number of civilian and military losses and casualties, and avert further humanitarian crisis. The Ministers also expressed deep concern about the possible use of nuclear or chemical weapons in armed conflict and stressed that neither the threat nor the use of any kind of weapon of mass destruction can ever be tolerated under any circumstances.

14.      In view of the cross-cutting impact between security and the economy, the Ministers decided to strengthen bilateral cooperation in promoting economic security. The Ministers expressed concern for and strong opposition to economic coercion to achieve political ends, stressed the importance of an international law-based economic order, and highlighted the importance of close coordination in dealing with economic coercion.

15.      The Ministers recognized the importance of cybersecurity, and expressed concern about the misuse and abuse of critical and emerging technologies, including digital and information technology, and emphasized that these technologies should be promoted in line with our shared values. They concurred on the need to strengthen cooperation in the field of cyber security and supply chain resiliency, noting the importance of an open and competitive marketplace in the telecommunications technology supply chain, promotion of telecommunications supplier diversity, and a secure, open, and transparent telecommunication infrastructure, such as 5G, among others.

16.      The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to work closely with each other to maintain and strengthen the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as the cornerstone of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime, including through activities in the framework of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), and to achieve a meaningful outcome at the 10th NPT Review Conference scheduled in August 2022. The Ministers stressed that the 40-year-long decline in global nuclear arsenals must be sustained and not reversed. In this regard, the Ministers looked forward to the development of future nuclear arms control frameworks that involve relevant countries and a wider range of weapon systems.

17.      The Ministers reiterated the urgency of the reform of UN Systems, including the Security Council. The Japanese ministers expressed their gratitude for the Philippines’ support of Japan’s bid for permanent membership in a future Security Council.

18.      The Ministers noted the Terms of Reference (TOR) on the Establishment of the Japan-Philippines Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting (“2+2”) and instructed their respective officials to follow through on the results of today’s meeting.