Japan and Australia commit to deeper ties

Defence Connect

Japan and Australia are expected to formalise the ongoing relationship between the two countries this week.

Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Fumio Kishida are anticipated to sign the Reciprocal Access Agreement during a virtual meeting this week, with the RAA expected to deepen the military ties between the two nations which are expected to include more joint military activities and greater use of one another’s military bases.

Currently, Japan’s only Reciprocal Access Agreement is with the United States.

“Australia and Japan will sign an historic treaty that will further strengthen defence and security cooperation between the two nations, during a virtual leaders’ summit on 6 January,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“Australia and Japan are the closest of friends. Our Special Strategic Partnership is stronger than it has ever been, reflecting our shared values, our commitment to democracy and human rights, and our common interests in a free, open and resilient Indo-Pacific region.

“The virtual summit with His Excellency Mr Kishida Fumio, Prime Minister of Japan, will mark the opening of a new chapter of defence and security cooperation between our two countries, with the signing of a Reciprocal Access Agreement.

“This landmark treaty will underpin greater and more complex practical engagement between the Australian Defence Force and the Japanese Self-Defence Forces. It will, for the first time, provide a clear framework for enhanced interoperability and cooperation between our two forces.”

The agreement is expected to support the ongoing challenges faced by both Australia and Japan in the Indo-Pacific and ensure the preservation of the international rules-based order.

Throughout the meeting, the leaders are also expected to discuss the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue as well as reducing climate emissions.

“The virtual summit will also build on our partnership for decarbonisation through technology, including identifying opportunities to deepen government and business collaboration on clean energy and critical technologies and materials,” PM Scott Morrison said.

The meeting between the two was scheduled to take place in person, however, was moved online due to growth in Australia’s COVID cases.

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