Japan and France set to commence negotiations on new security pact

Japan seeks discussions with France on a security pact. Prime Minister Kishida to address security ties, including climate change and AI regulations, during his visit to Paris.

Japan intends to initiate discussions with France on Wednesday regarding a new security agreement aimed at facilitating joint exercises and disaster relief operations. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is anticipated to broach the subject, termed a reciprocal access agreement, during his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Thursday.

Japan has intensified its efforts to bolster security ties with like-minded nations in the Indo-Pacific region, aimed at fortifying deterrence against China’s escalating military assertiveness in adjacent waters.

France holds strategic interests in the region, with overseas territories like New Caledonia in the South Pacific. Meanwhile, Tokyo’s tensions with Beijing over the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea remain unresolved.

Japan has already secured Reciprocal Access Agreements (RAAs) with Australia and Britain, streamlining troop deployments between these partners. Additionally, negotiations for a similar accord with the Philippines are underway.

Since 1960, Japan has maintained a comparable pact with the United States, known as the Status of Forces Agreement.

In response to China’s escalating military influence in the region, Japan and France have each concluded individual agreements to broaden their security collaboration. Among these is an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA), facilitating the streamlined sharing of food, fuel, and ammunition between their respective forces.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida embarked on Wednesday for France, marking the initial segment of a six-day international excursion. His itinerary also encompasses visits to Brazil and Paraguay, coinciding with Japan’s early May Golden Week holiday period.

Scheduled for Thursday, Kishida is slated to deliver a speech at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. His address will encompass a range of topics, including climate change and international regulations about generative artificial intelligence.