7 May, Tallinn – Japanese State Minister of Defence Akira Sato, who is visiting Estonia today and yesterday, has confirmed increasing interest in cooperation with Estonia, above all in cyber defence and exchange of information.
During his visit, Sato met the secretary general of the Estonian Ministry of Defence and the chief of defence, and visited the Information System Authority and NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCD COE). Akira Sato also met the chairman of the Parliamentary National Defence Committee, Marko Mihkelson.
Secretary General of the Ministry of Defence Mikk Marran said in meeting Sato that the two countries were ready for practical defence cooperation in light of the recent increase in bilateral relations. “Our cooperation is developing to a new level and becoming more concrete,” said Marran.
Japanese representatives are taking part in this year’s cyber conflict conference CyCon 2015, which will be followed by a seminar of Estonian and Japanese cyber experts. Marran invited Japan to send a student to the Baltic Defence College in Tartu and take part in the Cyber Olympics next year.
Sato said Japan was prepared to make a greater contribution to international security and that it will increase international defence cooperation. Japan’s objective is to work with Estonia above all in the field of cyber defence. Sato also said that it should be remembered that Estonia and Japan have a common neighbour. “We are glad that we’ve been able to exchange useful ideas with different important decision-makers here in Estonia”.
Yesterday, Sato met Lt. Gen. Riho Terras, the commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, who talked to Sato about the ongoing major exercise Siil. At the meeting between the officials, they discussed cooperation in the field of cyber defence and reached the conclusion that Estonian and Japanese experts had to meet to lay down the bilateral cooperation fields in this area. They also discussed the regional security situation in Estonia’s neighbourhood and in Asia.
Visiting the NATO CCD COE, Sato said Japan would have much to learn from Estonia’s and NATO’s experiences to this point in the field of cyber defence. Sato also expressed a desire for closer exchange of information and cooperation both with CCD COE and the Estonian state.
This morning, Sato visited the Estonian Information System Authority (RIA), where he was briefed on Estonia’s experience in developing e-solutions and cyber security. Director General of RIA Taimar Peterkop said it was an honour to share experience and introduce lessons Estonia has learned in creating services people use in daily life. “Estonia is glad that there is practical interest from other countries in what we’ve created. I have a high regard for the fact that our IT experience is of interest to a country with such a long history of technological development such as Japan,” said Peterkop.
Cyber defence cooperation with Japan has been one of the most important topics on the visits made in recent years by the Estonian Ministry of Defence secretary general, chief of defence and the head of state to Japan. The Japanese IT minister and National Defence Academy vice-president recently paid a visit to Estonia.