2019 Japan–China Field Officer Exchange Program organized by the Sasakawa Peace Foundation
In 2001, the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF) established the Japan–China Field Officer Exchange Program, which arranges annual exchange trips for officials from the Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF) and Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) to boost mutual understanding and foster dialogue.
From April 16–25, 2019, a delegation of 13 JSDF field officers and officials from the Ministry of Defense (MOD) are participating in a 10-day exchange program with their PLA counterparts. During this exchange, the Japanese delegation will visit PLA bases, cultural centers, business institutions, and also meet with high-ranking government officials in Beijing, Tianjin, Luoyang, Wuhan, and Guangzhou.
About the Japan–China Field Officer Exchange Program
The Sasakawa Japan–China Friendship Fund created this exchange program as part of its support for Track 1.5 Diplomacy to build trust between Japanese and Chinese officials. The program typically invites a delegation of about a dozen field officers, officials, and other related staff for a roughly 10-day visit organized in coordination with the Japanese MOD, the Office for International Military Cooperation of the Central Military Commission of the People's Republic of China, and the China Institute for International Strategic Studies. The trip aims to give participants broad exposure to the politics, economy, society, culture, and history of their host country by organizing courtesy calls to military leaders, tours of various training and educational facilities, as well as visits to land, sea, and air force units.
The program has successfully organized 21 exchange trips from 2001 until October 2012 when the program was temporarily suspended. Since the program restarted in 2018, in total 367 Japanese and Chinese field officers and staff members have visited both countries under the program.
Outline of activities in 2018 and plans for the future
In April 2018, Major General Ci Guowei led a delegation of 25 People's Liberation Army officers on a visit to Japan, where they attended a variety of events across the nation. In September 2018, Rear Admiral Tomohiko Madono brought a delegation of 13 Japanese field officers to China.
As a follow-up to the current visit to China, a delegation of PLA officers is scheduled to travel to Japan by the end of 2019.