Japan, Finland pledge unity against Russia over Ukraine war
TOKYO –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.
During their meeting in Tokyo, Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada and his Finnish counterpart Antti Kaikkonen also agreed to keep close communication between political leaders and officers of their respective countries, according to the Defense Ministry.
“Japan and Finland are partners sharing fundamental values,” Hamada said at the outset of the talks, adding the two nations are adjacent to Russia on its east and west sides and “have a lot in common in terms of recognition of situations and strategic interests” despite the geographical distance between them.
Kaikkonen told Hamada that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has entered its ninth month, has been shaking global security affairs.
The two ministers also vowed to promote their defense cooperation and exchanges to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific, a vision advocated by Japan and the United States in a veiled counter to China’s growing military clout in the region.
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.