Japan is drastically reforming its defence organisations to deal with new combat situations that require a combination of conventional warfare and the new domains of space, cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum, a top Japanese defence official told the Emirates News Agency, WAM on Monday.
There is potential for further defence cooperation with the UAE in such new areas, according to General Koji Yamazaki, Chief of Staff, Joint Staff of the Japan Self-Defence Forces, who is currently visiting the Emirates.
“We believe that we need to establish more effective defence capabilities. We are not going to stick to conventional ideas on combat situations,” he said in an exclusive interview during his first official visit to the UAE since assuming his post on 1st April this year.
Japan is undertaking a programme of drastic and speedy reform of the country’s defence organisations to establish the capability to deal with the multi-domain battlefield, Yamazaki said.
“We issued new national defence programme guidelines in December last year, which define the need to establish multi-domain defence force, which is critical to us to deal with the new combat situation which is the combination of conventional ground, maritime and air forces and the new domains of space, cyberspace and electromagnetic spectrum,” he said.
“I believe that there will be further potential in defence cooperation between Japan and the UAE in new areas,” Yamazaki said. He did not mention any specific areas.
The veteran defence official said the Japan Self-Defence Forces have enjoyed a very good relationship with the UAE forces through personnel exchanges and various other exchange programmes. “We are going to expand these relations including in the exchange of defence equipment and technologies.”
Noting that there have been exchanges of high-level visits between both countries in recent years, he added: “So my visit here is to follow up on the achievements (during the previous visits of top officials). This visit symbolises how far we have deepened our relationships in recent years.” Yamazaki expressed the hope that discussions during his current visit will deepen the friendly relationship between the Japanese and the UAE Defence Forces.
About the Japanese forces’ counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, Yamazaki said: “The security and safety of maritime transport is very important for Japan as we (heavily) rely on international trade. The counter-piracy operations (in that region) are also important for the safety and prosperity of international community. Therefore, the international community as a whole has to work together (in this regard),” the official said.