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Defence Minister Mark Mitchell has held talks today with Japanese State Minister of Defence Kenji Wakamiya, who is conducting an official visit to New Zealand.

“Japan is an increasingly important defence partner for New Zealand,” Mr Mitchell says. “We have a defence relationship underpinned by our common democratic values, and the fact we are both maritime nations vulnerable to natural disasters.

“The New Zealand Government was immensely grateful for the support the Japan Self-Defense Forces provided us after the Kaikoura earthquake last year,” Mr Mitchell says.

New Zealand and Japan are also strongly committed to maintaining regional peace and security.

“In addition to exploring new ways for our defence forces to work together, Minister Wakamiya and I exchanged views on security issues facing the Asia-Pacific region,” Mr Mitchell says.

Minister Wakamiya’s visit to New Zealand follows Mr Mitchell’s meeting with Japanese Defence Minister Tomomi Inada at the Shangri-La Dialogue in June, and Prime Minister Bill English’s counterpart visit to Japan in May. The frigate HMNZS Te Kaha also recently undertook a port visit to Tokyo. 

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