Photo via Stanford University.

First, India:

The two sides [India, Japan] discussed non-traditional threats to security and decided to hold the next meeting of the India-Japan Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism at an early date.

The two sides also discussed ways and means to expand co-operation in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and reviewed the joint naval exercises. (Link)

That’s funny, Japan doesn’t even have a terrorism problem.

Now, Indonesia:

Japan and Indonesia look to expand security cooperation, including possibly establishing a joint anti-piracy force in the Gulf of Aden, after decades of focusing on economic development ties, officials say.

Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia Kojiro Shiojiri said Monday in a seminar to mark the Japan Self-Defense Force Day that Indonesia and Japan were “strategic partners” who had made constructive contributions to the region.

Shingo Miyamoto, counsellor at the Japanese Embassy in Jakarta, said the Indonesia Military (TNI) could work with the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) on a joint anti-piracy force in the Gulf of Aden, given that many sailors passing through the area were Indonesians.

The 52-year-old diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Japan have focused mostly on economic cooperation. Japan is one of Indonesia’s main export destinations and Indonesia is the third-largest recipient of Japanese Overseas Development Assistance after China and India. Tokyo and Jakarta signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in 2007 that has seen import duties reduced to zero. (Link)

Indonesia is not the first country I think of when I think of Japan partnering with other navies to combat Somali piracy, but any cooperation is good. The more interaction with outside countries the better, given Japan’s recent societal trend back towards isolation. It’s also nice to see the industrial democracies engaging the Indonesian military and keeping it busy…so it doesn’t continue to do things like repress people and start shady businesses.

The Japanese and Indonesians are also cooperating on another kind of piracy: the pirates of the Malacca Straits. This is an older piracy movement, going back fifteen years or so. The Malaccan pirates have been much less successful than their Somali counterparts, but much of the world’s shipping passes through the Malacca Straits. The article says that Japan has been working with Indonesia for some time, even giving Indonesia three patrol vessels.

When asked whether Japan would seek to enhance its presence in the Malacca Straits, a strategic waterway for stability and economic interests in the region, Shiojiri said Japan had not made any single priority at the moment but added that Japan would continue working with Indonesia on security in the area.

The security of the Malacca Straits is the responsibility of littoral states Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore while foreign countries can contribute technical support, but not direct military assistance.

Indonesia and Malaysia have voiced caution against foreign security support in the Malacca Straits, where the overwhelming bulk of trade and crude oil supplies for Asia pass in transit, while Singapore has been more open to the idea.

In the past month, Japan’s been active in working with Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and South Korea over a variety of issues, from piracy to the North Korean sinking of the Cheonan, with everything from soft power humanitarian visits to footwork by foreign and defense ministers.

In lieu of increasing defense spending, Japan is strengthening ties throughout Asia.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 596 post(s) on Japan Security Watch