The Jakarta Post
The Defense Ministry confirmed on Friday that it would soon sign a defense cooperation treaty with Japan.
'Japan and Indonesia have agreed to cooperate in the defense sector. We're still waiting for the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding [MoU],' Defense Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Djundan Eko Bintoro told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
Djundan said that the two countries had agreed to work together in several fields including humanitarian assistance, disaster prevention and mitigation and cyber defense.
In disaster prevention and mitigation, under the planned agreement Japan is expected to offer Indonesia amphibious aircraft and early warning system technology.
Djundan said that teams from both countries had almost wrapped up their work on the details of the planned agreement.
'Details from the cooperation have been agreed but it has yet to be signed. We still don't know when it will be signed actually,' Djundan said without elaborating.
Unconfirmed reports said that the draft of the MoU between Indonesia and Japan had yet to be signed because of a Cabinet reshuffle in Japan and stormy political weather in Indonesia.
The draft itself has been ready since last year.
Last week, Indonesian Ambassador to Japan Yusron Ihza Mahendra met with Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu to discuss details of the cooperation.
During the meeting, Yusron told Ryamizard that Japan had a new law that would allow for a transfer of technology from Japanese strategic industry to Indonesia under an umbrella cooperation agreement.
Yusron hinted that the signing of the agreement would be conducted during President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's upcoming visit to Japan, which is scheduled for between March and April.
'If the MoU on defense cooperation can be signed, it would be good for the development of Indonesia's defense and economy,' said Yusron.
He also opined that the defense partnership could improve Indonesia's diplomatic standing both in the region and at the international level.
Yusron said that under the defense cooperation agreement, Indonesia could also import armaments and defense instruments from Japan.
'This would be a huge opportunity. For instance, Indonesian plane-maker PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) may establish joint cooperation in research, production and capital. Cooperation in the defense sector would have a very good atmosphere,' Yusron said, as quoted by Xinhua news agency.
The Japanese government eased its stance on defense equipment transfer principles in April last year, allowing arms exports under certain circumstances.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whom many consider a defense hawk, Japan has embarked on an overhaul of its national security strategy.
In an historic step, his Cabinet last year approved the export of military equipment and conducted a legal review that concluded Japan had the right to deploy its military power abroad to protect its citizens and defend allies under attack.
In 2015, Indonesia and Japan will celebrate the 57th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations and the 42nd anniversary of the ASEAN-Japan relationship.
The House of Representatives has previously expressed support for the Defense Ministry's cooperation with Pakistan and East Timor by ratifying a legal umbrella for such cooperation.
The ratification allows Indonesia to improve joint military training, exchange intelligence information and trade weapons with the two countries.
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