The information is circulating in Japan, but it has not been confirmed in Caledonia.
In a recent edition, the Japanese newspaper The Japan News in English mentions the Japanese strategy to counter the Chinese influence in the Pacific region. The country will open an embassy in Kiribati this year. Kiribati is a small island state with a population of 120,000 located 3,400 kilometers northeast of Noumea. According to The Japan News, the embassy will monitor what China is doing in the small country where it “has increased its presence by improving infrastructure, such as ports, and providing significant economic assistance.” So there will be Japanese officials there.
Japan and France hand in hand
The newspaper also explains that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should open a consulate in Noumea. However, this information has not been confirmed by the Japanese Honorary Consul in Caledonia. This does not mean that it will not happen. It would indeed be consistent. “In recent years,” the article reads, “the Japanese and French governments have strengthened their defense cooperation efforts, mainly through joint military exercises between the Maritime Self-Defense Force and French forces.”
Military cooperation between the French and Japanese armies
Last September, Caledonians were able to see a Japanese destroyer. The French Armed Forces in New Caledonia and the Japanese Army organized a joint exercise, called Oguri-Verny. Its very official objective was “to improve tactical interoperability, strengthen cooperation between the two partner armed forces and improve mutual understanding of issues in the Indo-Pacific region. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs is even more precise when it underlines on its website “that France and Japan cooperate to promote a free, safe and open Indo-Pacific space”.
Free, safe and open, the exact opposite of China…