German Defense Minister Volker Ruhe, praising Japan’s security role in the Asia-Pacific region, agreed with Defense Agency Chief Fumio Kyuma to expand military ties between the two countries, Japanese officials said.

During a two-hour meeting in Tokyo, Ruhe and Kyuma agreed that the two countries will boost bilateral military ties by exchanging military cadets, sending ships for port calls in each other’s countries and holding more defense talks, the officials said. Ruhe upheld the expansion of NATO, calling it an “open process” and crisis management, as opposed to NATO’s role in the Cold War era as a collective defense for Western countries.

Kyuma, reiterating that the situation in the Asia-Pacific region is unstable, expressed concern that various countries are making use of their growing economic power to procure arms. Ruhe is visiting Japan at the invitation of the Defense Agency for the first time since May 1993.

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