Home Europe France, Japan Launch Talks On Reciprocal Troop Access Agreement

France, Japan Launch Talks On Reciprocal Troop Access Agreement

The agreement would facilitate military cooperation and promote interoperability between the two forces.
France, Macron Kishida meet
French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the Elysee Palace on Thursday, May 2. Kishida was in Paris to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (Reuters/Pool)

PARIS: France and Japan agreed on Thursday to start formal talks on a reciprocal troop access deal, strengthening military cooperation.

The G7 allies have held numerous joint military exercises in recent years, bilaterally and as part of a wider group. Paris has been pushing for more than a year to begin talks on a reciprocal access agreement (RAA).

RAAs create frameworks to facilitate military cooperation, easing the entry of visiting forces and equipment.

“They agreed to start negotiations,” a Japanese government official said, as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and President Emmanuel Macron met in Paris. “Given the accumulation of cooperation and (military) exercises, we consider this important.”

A Japanese government statement confirmed the agreement to initiate talks. The French presidency said the RAA would promote interoperability between the two militaries.

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In December 2023, Japan announced its biggest military build-up since World War II. It has already signed RAAs with Australia and the United Kingdom and is negotiating one with the Philippines.

Japan also hosts the biggest concentration of U.S. forces abroad. A Japanese official said the deal with France could take about a year to conclude. A French diplomatic source said Paris hoped it could be done “very quickly.”

Japan has sought to strengthen defence ties amid concerns about China, including its pressure on Taiwan, freedom of navigation in the region and trade disputes. It has also backed Ukraine in its war against Russia.
“We see what’s happening in Europe and the Indo-Pacific as inseparable,” the Japanese official said.

France has territories in the Indo-Pacific and stations armed forces in the region. It also wants to play a bigger role in Japan’s defence industry, as it has in the civilian nuclear power sector.

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