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Common interests of Czech Republic and Japan: opportunities on the horizon for defence industry


The First Deputy Minister of Defence František Šulc discussed the opportunities for cooperation with his Japanese counterpart Toshiro Ino. For the Czech Republic and the domestic defence industry, cooperation with Japan bears a huge potential – Tokyo intends to spend 2% of GDP on defence until 2027, pushing Japan to the third place in defence spending behind the U.S. and China. Both countries also share their perspective on the current security issues.

“We concurred that in the matter of security risks we share the same perspective on threats we will face in the years ahead. The security of Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions is more interconnected than we think. Reinforcing cooperation with democratic partners such as Japan is crucial for the global security,” stated First Deputy Minister of Defence František Šulc.

As the Czech Republic has long feared the Russian influence, Japan is changing its stance on China. While Japan regarded China as “reason of concern” in 2013, the recently published Japanese policies (National Defense Strategy and National Security Strategy) already perceive China as a “strategic challenge”. Japan has regularly been facing Russian-Chinese provocations in the form of military exercises and intrusions of Russian ships and aircraft in its near neighbourhood.

Last but not least, since the beginning of the invasion in Ukraine, Moscow strives to enhance their security and economic ties with Beijing and considers President Xi Jinping to be their key ally against the West. Both strategic documents hence assess the current security environment as “the most complicated since the end of World War II”.

In spite of the two countries being geographically remote, the Czech Republic regards Japan a key security and defence actor in Asia, and embraces any further cooperation development. Bigger convergence of Prague and Tokio is supported by the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific adopted in autumn last year which refers to Japan as a critically important region for security and the future shape of international relations. According to Šulc, the experiences and lessons learnt from security challenges Japan has recently faced are indispensable for the western community.

“We believe that sharing them with other NATO nations is in our common interest. It can serve as a catalyst for our cooperation in other domains,” Šulc pointed out.

A unique opportunity for the Czech industry

One of these areas is cooperation of defence industries which has a huge untapped potential for the Czech Republic:

Japanese Self-Defence Forces comprise up to 250,000 service members and rank among leading militaries in the region. Tokyo plans to expand their missile forces, strengthen unmanned aerial capabilities and substantially increase their defence expenditure. They plan to invest USD 51.4 billion into defence this year, which represents 1.2% GDP. Until 2027, Japan intends to reach 2% of GDP which would represent USD 103 billion. The Japanese defence budget would become the third highest, right behind the U.S., and the Chinese.

The Land of the Rising Sun represents an extraordinary opportunity for the Czech Republic and its defence industry. Japan is inclined to the convergence: its new defence strategy stipulates that Japan will enhance the cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries, including the Czech Republic and Poland. According to First Deputy Minister Šulc, the Ministry of Defence perceives it as a significant step ahead in mutual relations and a new impulse for cooperation intensification.

“The Czech defence industry can offer a wide range of cutting edge technologies to Japan. A great potential lies in the field of artificial intelligence, laser technologies, digitalisation, robotics, cyber and space technologies or biotechnologies,” First Deputy Minister Šulc underscored.

Mutual trade could be significantly facilitated by agencies both countries established for this purpose: Czech AMOS (Intergovernmental Defense Cooperation Agency) and Japanese ATLA (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency).

First Deputy Minister Šulc simultaneously confirmed that Czech businesses have an “essential interest” to cooperate with Japan. “We are open to an intensive cooperation involving both our defence industry agencies especially in terms of reaching out to Armed Forces, since Czech firms are already well established in the commercial market,” František Šulc emphasised.

The President of the Czech Defence and Security Industry Association welcomes the initiative: “The Czech company AURA delivered a military logistics management system to the Japanese Ministry of Defence in past years. I am convinced that thanks to the quality of their products, other Czech producers will soon follow suit,” commented Jiří Hynek.


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