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Foreign Relations - Japan

The 'Quad' countries Japan, the US, India and Australia - has become increasingly alarmed at what were considered as Beijing ignoring international laws. The first Quadrilateral meeting took place in New York in 2019, with the group planning to hold such talks annually. Tokyo and Washington have pushed hard to bring together like-minded countries that share Japan's concerns about China's growing assertiveness and influence. Japan hopes their Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) regional initiative will boost security and economic cooperation between the four allies.

Australia and Japan cooperate closely on a wide range of economic diplomacy activities including infrastructure and climate change. Australia and Japan held the inaugural Ministerial Economic Dialogue in July 2018. The Dialogue offers a regular mechanism for high-level engagement on strategic economic and trade cooperation to complement high-level defence and security cooperation and annual leaders' meetings. The Dialogue supports the strong and growing trade and investment relationship between Australia and Japan.

The Australia-Japan economic relationship is underpinned by complementary strengths and needs. Australia is a safe, secure and reliable supplier of food, energy and mineral resources and a world-class centre for financial and other services. Japan became Australia's largest trading partner in the early 1970s a position it maintained for 26 years. Japanese investment continues to play a significant role in the development of the Australian economy.

On defense, the two states first entered into a cooperation agreement in 2007, agreed to share military supplies in 2013, expanded in 2017 to include munitions. Based on the 2007 Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation, security and defence cooperation forms one of important pillars of the bilateral relationship. The countries also signed an Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement on defence logistics cooperation, and an Information Security Agreement on the sharing of classified information.

Australia and Japan have cooperated in responding to various global crises, such as the search of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the relief activities after the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and disaster relief operations after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. In 2020, Japan dispatched two C-130 aircraft to Australia in response to the severe bushfire season. Australia and Japan have a strong history of cooperation in United Nations peacekeeping missions, including in East Timor, Cambodia and South Sudan.

As part of the Special Strategic Partnership, Australia and Japan have a broad, deep and growing relationship that aims to contribute to a free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. This partnership features training and exercises, personnel exchanges, cooperation on space and cyber policy and defence science and technology. Australia and Japan also cooperate trilaterally with the United States. Australia and Japan also cooperate to work with partners in the Indo-Pacific region including in areas such as capacity building, maritime security and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

A new defense deal between Japan and Australia would make it easier for troops from each nation to visit military bases of the other side, said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese premier Yoshihide Suga. The two prime minister held a joint press conference during Morrison 's visit to Tokyo on 17 November 2020.

The deal, dubbed Reciprocal Access Agreement, would streamline cooperation for exercises and disaster relief missions, the leaders said. Morrison called the deal a "landmark" development, and Suga described both nations as "special strategic partners" committed to realizing a "free and open Indo-Pacific." Still pending is ratification of the bilateral pact by parliaments of both nations, which, during World War Two, fought bitterly across the western Pacific.

Without naming China explicitly, Suga and Morrison did, however express "serious concerns" about Chinese "militarization" across the South and East China Seas amid an array of maritime territorial disputes involving variously China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan.

For Japan, the bilateral pact endorsed by Morrison in Tokyo, represents the first of its kind since 1960 when Japan and the USA agreed "status of forces" terms allowing about 50,000 American troops to be based for decades on Japanese islands, including Okinawa. Officially, Tokyo limits itself to self-defense and bans first strikes under is post World War Two pacifist constitution.

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Page last modified: 18-11-2020 11:44:10 ZULU