TOKYO – Japan and Indonesia have agreed to strengthen their security ties, through such measures as expediting talks on the export of Japanese defence technology and by having their defence and foreign ministers meet soon.
This reflects concerns over growing Chinese regional assertiveness, and comes as Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga met Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the presidential palace in Bogor, south of Jakarta, on Tuesday (Oct 20).
Mr Suga, who is the first foreign leader to visit Indonesia since the Covid-19 pandemic, was greeted with a 19-gun salute.
He arrived from Vietnam, and Japanese diplomats said that the four-day two-nation trip was meant to symbolise Japan’s continued commitment and support to Asean.
While seen as a greenhorn on foreign affairs, Mr Suga follows in the footsteps of his predecessor Shinzo Abe, who also visited Vietnam and Indonesia first after he became prime minister in December 2012.
A key priority for Mr Suga is to cement Asean’s backing for Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific vision, which he stressed on Tuesday was aligned with the Asean Outlook on the Indo-Pacific pioneered by Indonesia.