Asia Pacific Security Seminar

Chairman’s Summary, Study Meeting of the Tenth Asia-Pacific Security Seminar (APSS)

held at the National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS), November 17-29, 2003

  1. The Tenth APSS was held in Tokyo with the participation of 28 delegates from 19 countries. APSS, held annually since 1994, is designed to enhance multilateral security dialogue to foster mutual confidence among participating countries. Its basic objectives share much with those of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Meeting of Heads of Defense Universities/Colleges/Institutions. The summary of the Ninth APSS was submitted to last meeting held in India.
  2. The APSS process has experienced both deepening and widening of security dialogues since its foundation. It was inaugurated with delegates from 13 countries in 1994, but now we welcome about 20. Most participants are colonel / lieutenant colonel rank officer or equivalents who have much expertise in defense planning and/or related security issues.
  3. The Tenth APSS study session was divided into four sessions: Introductory Session and Sessions 1-3. In the Introductory Session, presentations on Defense Policies of Japan and Japan Self Defense Forces were made to give participants a better understanding of our security concerns.
  4. In the Session 1, we had presentations on "Defense Policy of Participating Countries" from 17 countries (all except Myanmar and Japan). In this session, the participants agreed that the Asia-Pacific is a very complex region due to its vast regional scope and diversity in historical, cultural and religious backgrounds.
  5. In the Session 2 titled "Promoting Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region," Professor and Honorable Keizo Takemi, Member of the Councilors, delivered a keynote speech. He explained extensively about three pillars of security, namely, national security, cooperative security and human security. His analysis shed light on often neglected aspects of security challenges: social instability and its implications for terrorist activities. His address greatly contributed to enhance our understanding about interacting nature of traditional and non-traditional security challenges.
  6. In the Session 3, participants were divided into two groups. Each group made presentations on following discussion agenda: 1) How should we promote security cooperation in the following areas? traditional military or security roles, counter-terrorism, exercise, relationship between police and the military; 2) What can we do in the area shown above?
  7. In this session, special attention was paid to counter-terrorism measures at both domestic and international level. The proposed measures for combating terrorism included enhancing information sharing, coordination between police and the military, cross-border policy coordination, etc. Some participants expressed a concern on information sharing, which may result in information utilization by major powers.
  8. In order to foster security cooperation, some called for a stronger multilateral institution like Asian Pacific Security mechanism at Defense Minister level. Others suggested that a Defense Ministers’ Meeting should be held regularly and formally. On the other hand, some participants pointed out that existing mechanisms like ARF should be utilized fully and thus duplication of precious resources should be avoided.
  9. On the issue of improving the process of the APSS, the participants agreed that the chairman’s summary of the Tenth APSS would be presented to the next ARF Meeting of Heads of Defense Universities/Colleges/Institutions and also be carried on the Web site of the NIDS for exchanging information.
  10. In the concluding session, the participants agreed that what is needed to promote security cooperation now is not just dialogue but also joint actions among members. Multilateral exercise, for example, may play a pivotal role in this regard.
Administration Division
The National Institute for Defense Studies :
5-1 ichigayahonmuracho, shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8808 Japan
Phone: +81-3-3260-3019
FAX: +81-3-3260-3039