Japan, Indonesia to strengthen military, infrastructure cooperation

Tokyo, Jul 27 (EFE).- Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo agreed Wednesday in Tokyo to strengthen their bilateral cooperation in defense, energy and infrastructure, and review their free trade treaty.

Kishida and Widodo held a meeting in the Japanese capital before the G20 summit is held in mid-November on the Indonesian island of Bali.

Kishida said Japan would contribute to the improvement of maritime security around Indonesia by virtue of the memorandum recently reached by both countries, and spoke of the pioneering participation of ground troops of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces in Indonesia’s Garuda Shield military maneuvers, scheduled for Monday through Aug. 14.

More than 4,000 soldiers from 12 countries, including the United States, Australia, South Korea and the United Kingdom, will participate in the exercises. Japan’s prime minister said he hopes this would contribute to “further developing the strengthening of the relationship between the two countries in terms of security cooperation.”

Japan is studying the transfer to Indonesia of surveillance ships to deploy around its territory.

President Widodo spoke of an upcoming reform of the free trade agreement between Japan and Indonesia on the occasion of the G20 summit and asked Prime Minister Kishida to assess a reduction or total exemption from tariffs for products such as pineapples, bananas and tuna.

Widodo announced his country would lift all restrictions on the import of certain foods from the northeastern region of Japan affected by the Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011. Indonesia had already lifted some restrictions in January 2020.

Kishida said during the press conference that Japan would extend a credit of JPY 43.6 billion (313 million euros) in infrastructure, which will be used in part to establish a hydrogen and ammonia plant, an energy source Japan has been actively promoting for the decarbonization goal.

Tokyo will also make a loan of JPY 70 billion for the development of Port Patimban.

Widodo said he expects Japanese investment in his country to increase and asked Japan to provide “its knowledge and technology” to contribute to the industrialization of the country’s natural resources, the electrification of transport, health, food and the environment.

Kishida and Widodo said they would address other issues, such as the war in Ukraine, the increase in China’s activities in the Indo-Pacific, the situation in Myanmar and North Korea’s weapons tests. EFE


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