Canada and Japan have initiated talks aimed at sharing military intelligence as they seek to counter growing threats from China and Russia.
“Through the exchange of information, we will be able to successfully counter domestic threats and work with partners to enhance regional stability,” Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly tweeted on Tuesday.
She met with Yoshimasa Hayashi in Tokyo and adopted an action plan to strengthen cooperation on defense and economic security.
That plan included starting formal consultations on an information-sharing agreement called the General Data Protection Agreement.
Japan’s foreign ministry said the two sides are aiming to reach an agreement “as soon as possible” to facilitate information sharing and further strengthen cooperation between the two militaries.
Japan has similar intelligence-sharing agreements with NATO and eight countries, including the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, India, and South Korea.
Canada is part of the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance which includes Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the US.
In recent years, Japan has stepped up defense cooperation beyond its main ally, the United States, in the face of China’s growing assertiveness in the region and growing concerns that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could further provoke Beijing. deepened.
On Tuesday, Japan and Canada also agreed to expand and deepen their military ties by holding joint exercises between the two countries and with the United States.
The two leaders emphasized the importance of working together to ensure a rules-based international order and committed to achieving the vision of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” region.
Jolly said Canada’s development of an Indo-Pacific strategy “is intended to complement the efforts of like-minded partners, including Japan’s vision.”
Liberals have been under pressure for months to announce an Indo-Pacific strategy. Industry groups hope to outline the countries Ottawa plans to approach and those the government deems at risk.
Jolie promised to announce the strategy by the end of the year, after the Chinese government holds a major summit next week on its goals for the next few years.
Resource-poor Japan is also seeking greater cooperation with Canada to secure supplies of liquefied natural gas.
Japan and Canada also agreed to intensify technical exchanges on nuclear technology, including on small modular reactors, which Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has ordered a government panel to consider as a possible option for future development.
Shortages in energy supplies, rising utility bills, and pressure to reach carbon neutrality goals by 2050 have forced the Kishida government to wait several years after many of Japan’s nuclear power plants were shut down after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Later, more emphasis was placed on nuclear energy.