Wednesday, January 30, 2013


     Jakarta, Jan 30, 2013 (ANTARA) - Whenever Indonesian and Japanese officials meet, their agenda topics usually concern economic issues, particularly on trade and investment cooperation.
         But, it seems now Japan wants to open a new chapter of cooperation with Indonesia, which is one of the country's main partners in economic cooperation.

         When the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) Chief of Staff, General Eiji Kimizuka, paid a courtesy call on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta on January 29, 2013, Kimizuka discussed the need to establish military cooperation between the two nations.
         Indonesia and Japan have agreed to increase cooperation in military, particularly concerning military training and exercises, human resources development, defense industry, contra-terrorism, and disaster handling, Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said at the presidential palace, after attending the meeting between Yudhoyono and Kimizuka.
         "In principle, in the past the bilateral cooperation between Japan and Indonesia focused on the economic field, but now they said  their government is also ready to establish cooperation in the military field," Minister Purnomo told the press.        
    Purnomo said during the meeting Indonesia has also invited Japan to participate in the joint anti-terrorism drill which will be held in the Indonesian Peace and Security Center (IPSC) in West Java Province in September this year.
         "Japan has agreed to take part in the counter-terrorism exercise involving 18 countries," the minister said.
         He said Japan has decided to develop its self-defense force following unfavorable security situation in East Asia, although it was not allowed according to its Constitution after World War II.
         "They informed Indonesia about their future plans. Although after WW II Japan was not allowed to develop its military power, the situation changes now," Minister Purnomo stated.
         The Japanese Empire had occupied Indonesia, known then as the Dutch East Indies, during World War II from March 1942 until after the end of War in 1945. The Japanese troops had also invaded several other countries.
         The US dropped two deadly atomic bombs on Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, forcing the Japanese government to agree to surrender on August 14, 1945. On September 2, 1945 World War II officially ended.
         Since then, the Japanese people have decided to become a pacifist nation. Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which is sometimes referred to as the "Peace Constitution", denies Japan the right to declare war and forbids the establishment of a large army or navy. 
    It states "the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right and the threat of use of force as means of settling disputes" and armed forces "will never be maintained."
    But, Japan's stance has shifted following tension with China on the territorial dispute in the East China Sea.
         Japan is trying to raise its profile in a new way, offering military aid for the first time in decades and displaying its own armed forces in an effort to build regional alliances and shore up other countries' defenses to counter a rising China, New York Times reported recently.
         According to the US media, Japan has approved a $2 million package for its military engineers to train troops in Cambodia and East Timor in disaster relief and skills like road building.  Japan's Ministry of Defense said it planned to double its military aid program next year to help Indonesia and Vietnam.
         Following the meeting between the Indonesian and the JGSDF delegations, Julian A Pasha, a presidential spokesman, told the media that the Indonesian and Japanese governments have agreed to intensify cooperation in maintaining stability in the Southeast Asian, East Asian, Asia and the Pacific regions.
         The two nations have agreed that the stability in Asia must be maintained, and Japan as well as Indonesia will actively contribute to safeguarding of the regional security.
         Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa also confirmed that the two countries' delegations in the meeting discussed cooperation in military.
         "The discussions concerned efforts to further strengthen the bilateral cooperation including in maintaining the (regional) stability," the minister stated.
         In the meeting, General Eiji Kimizuka was accompanied by Japanese Ambassador to Indonesia Yoshinori Katori, Colonel Yoshihisa Nakano (the head of the research and division C4 of the JGSDF's Program and Policy Department), and the Japanese embassy's Defense Attache Captain Toshiako Kondo.
         President Yudhoyono was flanked by Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa, Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Army Chief of Staff General Pramono Edhie Wibowo and Teuku Faizasyah, a presidential special staff for international relations.
         On January 18, 2013, President Yudhoyono held a bilateral meeting with the visiting Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, in Jakarta, to discuss efforts to strengthen bilateral cooperation in all fields, not only in the economic sector.
         "As we have known, the bilateral relations between Indonesia and Japan are very sound, solid and keep on flourishing, including cooperation in defense and military," Yudhoyono said after the meeting with Abe.
         A day before paying a courtesy call on President Yudhoyono, General Eiji Kimizuka visited the headquarters of the Indonesian Army's Special Forces Kopassus. He was received by Kopassus Deputy Commander Brigadier General Jaswandi who represented Kopassus Commander Major General Agus Sutomo.
         Jaswandi said the relations and cooperation between the Indonesian and Japanese armies have grown well and lasted for a long time. "This will certainly open a wider opportunity for further cooperation in the future," he said.
         The visit of the chief of staff of the Japanese army this time was very important to increase cooperation between Indonesia and Japan especially between Kopassus and the Japanese army based on mutual respect, mutual trust and mutual benefits, he stated.
         He expressed hope for the strengthening of the bilateral cooperation between the two countries especially in the field of natural disaster mitigation.
         General Eiji Kimizuka on the occasion said that cooperation in the field of natural disaster mitigation could immediately be implemented. ***1***

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