EU, Japan agree on formal arrangement to facilitate naval cooperation
In a move aimed at further facilitating joint naval activities, on 15 March the European Union’s Naval Force Atalanta (EUNAVFOR Atalanta) and Japan’s Deployment Surface Force for Counter-Piracy Enforcement off the Coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden (DPSA) signed a new Administrative Arrangement for communication and coordination on joint anti-piracy exercises.
The document was signed in Tokyo by Vice Admiral José Maria Núñez Torrente, Operation Commander of EUNAVFOR Atalanta, and General Koji Yamazaki, Chief of Staff, Joint Staff of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces.
The EU-Japan partnership has become increasingly close on a wide range of topics, in line with the EU-Japan Strategic Partnership Agreement. Both EU and Japan are committed to upholding the rules-based international order, including through practical maritime cooperation on freedom of navigation and overflight. Both partners seek to secure the safety of maritime routes, to protect the world's maritime domain from all traditional and non-traditional threats, and to enhance prosperity.
In this context, EUNAVFOR Atalanta and Japan’s DPSA have conducted several joint activities in recent years, including joint training at sea, operational cooperation, a joint port call and a trilateral exercise with Djibouti (https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/european-union-japan-joint-port-call-joint-press-release_en, https://www.eeas.europa.eu/eeas/maritime-security-eu-and-japan-carry-out-joint-naval-exercise-0_en). The new arrangement between the two parties establishes a common framework to facilitate communication and coordination during future joint naval exercises.
Earlier this month, the European Commission and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy adopted a Joint Communication on an enhanced EU Maritime Security Strategy (https://oceans-and-fisheries.ec.europa.eu/publications/joint-communication-update-eu-maritime-security-strategy-and-its-action-plan-enhanced-eu-maritime_en) to ensure a peaceful use of the seas and safeguard the maritime domain against new threats. Actions envisaged under the enhanced Strategy include stepping up cooperation with all relevant international partners including Japan to uphold the rules-based order at sea, notably the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.