Japan–Australia Defense Cooperation and Exchanges

Q1 What is the significance of the defense cooperation and exchanges with Australia?

A1.Australia is an important partner for Japan in the Asia-Pacific region: Japan and Australia are allies of the United States and share not only fundamental values such as democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights, and capitalist economies, but also strategic stakes and interests in the security field.

In particular, the norm by which different countries should work in concert to address global challenges has been becoming widespread in the international community. Therefore, as responsible countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan and Australia are strengthening mutual cooperation focused primarily on areas such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activities.

Q2 What is the history of defense cooperation and exchanges with Australia?

A2.The Japanese and Australian Prime Ministers released the Japan–Australia Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation, which was the first such joint declaration in the realm of security with a country other than the United States, in March 2007. Defense cooperation and exchanges between Japan and Australia have been making steady progress since then and have now reached the stage of more concrete and practical cooperation.

Q3 Tell us about the specific efforts and achievements.

Japan–Australia (2+2) (Sydney)
Japan–Australia (2+2) (Sydney)

A3.At the third Joint Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations (2+2) in May 2010, the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) and its Procedural Arrangement were signed.

With the conclusion of the Japan–Australia ACSA, on such occasions as PKO and international disaster relief operations where the SDF and Australian Forces are involved, the reciprocal provision of supplies and services such as water, food, fuel, and transport is possible on site, through which the Japan–Australia strategic partnership is further facilitated and consolidated.

Furthermore, such facilitated and strengthened cooperation between Japan and Australia is expected to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region, while also being conducive to fostering international order through cooperation.

Q4 What are the action plans in the future?

A4.At the 4th Japan–Australia Joint Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations (Japan–Australia (2+2)) held in Sydney in September 2012, the two countries confirmed further expanding of defense cooperation based on the achievements of the ACSA and the Information Security Arrangement (ISA), which was signed in May 2012, and the importance to share a common vision and objectives described in the Joint Statement. Furthermore, they agreed to coordinate in a closer manner in such fields as international cooperation and disaster relief operations, and further trilateral efforts including a Japan–U.S.–Australia defense ministerial meeting and joint training, while recognizing the importance of engagement by the United States in the Asia-Pacific region from the viewpoint of peace and stability in the region.

At the Japan–Australia Defense Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo in September 2012, the two ministers discussed such issues as cooperation and personnel exchanges in the field of capacity-building support programs in the Asia-Pacific region, coordination through the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting–Plus (ADMM-plus), the importance of supporting ASEAN nations in the field of maritime security and technical cooperation concerning equipment.

Japan–Australia Defense Ministerial Meeting (Tokyo)
Japan–Australia Defense Ministerial Meeting (Tokyo)

Q5 How is the trilateral relation among Japan, the United States and Australia?

A5.In recent years, trilateral cooperation among Japan, the United States and Australia has been increasing. Japan and Australia are both allied with the United States, and share fundamental values. They cooperate closely in order to resolve the various challenges that the Asia-Pacific region and the international community are facing. In order to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of such cooperation, it is important that trilateral cooperation be promoted among Japan, Australia and the United States, whose presence is indispensable for regional peace and stability.

In June 2007, the first Japan–U.S.–Australia Defense Ministerial Meeting was held, taking advantage of the opportunity of the 6th Shangri-La Dialogue, through which the Defense Ministerial Meeting three countries agreed to pursue continued cooperation trilaterally. Furthermore, at the 11th Shangli-La Dialogue in June 2012, the 2nd Japan–U.S.–Australia Defense Ministerial Meeting (attended by then Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister of Defense Watanabe) was held and the Joint Statement by the Japan–U.S.–Australia Defense Leaders was issued for the first time, in which the three participants agreed to deal with diverse security issues in the Asia-Pacific region, based on the cooperative relationship established among the three countries.

Japan–U.S.–Australia Defense Ministerial Meeting
Japan–U.S.–Australia Defense Ministerial Meeting

Q6 Are there any cooperation and exchanges between units?

A6.In July 2011, the GSDF Chief of Staff and the Australian Chief of Army agreed to promote future joint training by dispatching observers to each other’s joint training with the U.S. military, with the objective of strengthening relations among Japan, the United States and Australia. In February 2012, an observer from the Australian Army was accepted for the first time at the joint Japan–U.S. command post exercise, which was held between the GSDF regional army and the U.S. Army.

In June 2012, joint training exercises were carried out for the fifth time by Japan, the United States and Australia involving the MSDF, the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Navy.

In January 2011, the Royal Australian Air Force dispatched an observer for the first time to the Japan-United States bilateral training “Cope North Guam” by the ASDF and the U. S. Air Force. Followed by this, in February 2012, “Cope North Guam” was executed in Guam with the participation of the ASDF, the U.S. Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force for the first time.

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