Press Releases

Japan-Australia Joint Foreign and Defence Ministerial Consultations Joint Statement 2008

1. Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Hirofumi Nakasone, Japanese Minister of Defense Yasukazu Hamada, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs the Hon Stephen Smith MP and Australian Minister for Defence the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP, met in Tokyo on 18 December 2008 to discuss regional and global security issues and ways to enhance cooperation between Japan and Australia. The meeting, the second Japan-Australia Joint Foreign and Defence Ministerial Consultations, reaffirmed the commitment made by the Japanese and Australian Prime Ministers in their June 2008 joint statement on Japan and Australia's comprehensive strategic, security and economic partnership, to promote bilateral security cooperation between Japan and Australia, and to work together to contribute to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

2. Ministers underlined the strength of the comprehensive strategic partnership between Japan and Australia - a partnership which is based on enduring friendship, shared democratic values and strategic interests, and common alliance ties with the United States. Ministers welcomed the continuing growth of Japan-Australia security cooperation under the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation (JDSC) and the 2007 Action Plan to implement the JDSC, noting their contribution to international peace and stability.

3. Ministers committed to further bilateral cooperation, and trilateral cooperation with the United States. They welcomed practical cooperation under the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue (TSD) and the Security and Defence Cooperation Forum (SDCF), reiterated the importance of continued US strategic engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, and underlined their commitment to working closely with the new US Administration.

4. Ministers emphasised the importance of close multilateral cooperation between Japan and Australia on regional and global issues. Such cooperation benefited Japan and Australia and promoted regional security and prosperity. Ministers committed to cooperating in support of the reform of the United Nations, including of the UN Security Council.

Strategic Issues

5. Ministers shared the view that a close strategic relationship between Japan and Australia is of growing importance to both countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Ministers noted the importance of strong alliance ties with the United States and comprehensive involvement in multilateral institutions for the international policies of both countries.

6. Ministers underlined their shared commitment to supporting regional and global security, including in relation to the threat of terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. They reiterated their support for the Six-Party Talks' process toward the verifiable denuclearisation of North Korea, and called on North Korea to take positive steps toward improving Japan-North Korea relations including by addressing the issue of the abductions of Japanese citizens.

7. Ministers welcomed cooperation between the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) and Australian Defence Force (ADF) in Iraq and endorsed the continued growth in Japan's international security role. They emphasised the importance of sustained international efforts in anti-terrorist efforts, including Japan's replenishment support activities in the Indian Ocean and Australia's activities in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

8. Ministers welcomed Australia's and Japan's cooperation in APEC, the East Asia Summit, and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and confirmed the importance of continuing regional discussions on the future of the Asia Pacific region, referring to Australia's proposal for an Asia-Pacific Community. Ministers committed to strengthen cooperation, and work constructively with other regional countries, to promote regional stability and prosperity.

Security Cooperation

9. Ministers noted that there had been significant progress of security cooperation in the 2007 Action Plan, noting that Australia proposed an updated Action Plan to be discussed by both Governments at an early stage.

Defence Cooperation

10. Ministers welcomed the updating of the Memorandum on Defence Cooperation in the Defence Ministerial meeting, as a platform for greater practical bilateral cooperation in areas such as peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and enhanced defence exchanges. Ministers welcomed efforts to promote enhanced strategic dialogue between defence authorities, noting the importance of such discussion to policy development.

11. Ministers decided to accelerate studies on logistics cooperation between Japan and Australia through the Working Group established in accordance with the decision of Japan-Australia Defence Ministerial meeting in May 2008.

12. Ministers affirmed Japan and Australia's continuing commitment to enhanced defence cooperation, including unit-to-unit exchanges, ship and aircraft visits and exercises, as confirmed by the Prime Ministers of Japan and Australia in their joint statement of June 2008. Ministers welcomed the success of recent exchanges, including the first Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) participation in Exercise KAKADU in July 2008; the visit to Australia in September 2008 of JMSDF P-3C for exercising; the first Japan Air Self-Defense Force U-4's visit to Australia; and Royal Australian Navy ship's and Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C's visits to Japan in October 2007.

13. Ministers welcomed enhanced trilateral security and defence cooperation under the SDCF, including the Pacific Global Air Mobility Seminar (PGAMS) held in Japan in February 2008; the first trilateral P-3C exercise, held in October 2007; and trilateral cooperation in ARF disaster relief exercises held in May 2008.

Information Sharing

14. Ministers emphasized that closer information sharing, backed by improved information security policies, would be a vital support for closer bilateral and trilateral security cooperation across all areas. They decided to commence discussions in early 2009 on a possible legal framework between the Governments of Australia and Japan on their cooperation to promote information sharing within the scope of their respective laws and regulations in force, and confirmed basic principles on information security as guidance for the discussions.

Cooperation on Other Security Issues

15. Ministers committed to enhancing their practical cooperation to promote stability, governance and sustained economic growth and development in Pacific Island Countries. Ministers welcomed Japan's commitment to enhanced cooperation in Solomon Islands. They confirmed that Australia will work with Japan to ensure a successful 5th Japan-Pacific Islands Leaders' Meeting in 2009. They called on the regime in Fiji to hold democratic elections as soon as possible, noting the importance of engagement with Fiji through dialogue.

16. Ministers underlined the need to enhance regional cooperation in the area of disaster management. In this context, Ministers welcomed the first meeting of TSD Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief officials, which adopted Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief guidelines for practical cooperation. Ministers also committed to further bilateral exchanges and cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief including in the ARF. Ministers welcomed the proposed establishment of the Australia-Indonesia Facility for Disaster Reduction.

17. Ministers confirmed the importance of information sharing relating to Australia and Japan's respective peacebuilding structures, such as Australia's Asia-Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence and Japan's Hiroshima Peacebuilders Center.

18. Ministers welcomed the progress on trilateral counter-terrorism cooperation, as well as cooperation through the G8 Counter-Terrorism Action Group.

19. Ministers emphasised the importance of open and secure sea lines of communication and shared the recognition on the importance of strengthening national and international efforts for maritime security.

20. Ministers welcomed the close bilateral cooperation in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation. In particular, Ministers welcomed Japan's and Australia's co-chairing of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament as an important practical contribution to the urgent universal goal of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, recognising the necessity to contribute to the success of 2010 NPT Review Conference, to present a practical and realistic roadmap toward a world free of nuclear weapons and to respond to the major renewal of interest in peaceful uses of nuclear energy in an appropriate manner consistent with nuclear non-proliferation.

Next Meeting

21. Ministers confirmed that Australia will host the next Japan-Australia Foreign and Defence Ministerial Consultations in 2009.

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